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Premiership Rugby

Callard to land Leinster job?

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Callard is currently assistant coach at Zurich Premiership club Leeds Tykes, as well as being on the England Under-21 staff, and according to media reports has beaten off stiff competition for the prime post at the Heineken Cup semi-finalists.

Leinster themselves still insist that a formal decision has not been taken, and the players will be briefed on the situation by provincial heirarchy on Thursday. But it seems that Callard has the inside track, as media speculation mounts of his imminent appointment, Leinster stating that they hope to make an announcement next week.

Remembered by many for kicking the winning penalty for Bath in the 1998 Heineken Cup Final against Brive, Callard was the fall guy for Bath's poor performance in the 2001/2 Premiership season, as he was sacked as head coach and replaced with Australian Michael Foley.

But alongside Welshman Phil Davies at Leeds he has helped get the Yorkshire club into the Heineken Cup as well as playing some attractive rugby with an exciting backs division.

Callard also earned fame when he kiced the winning penalty in the 1994 Calcutta Cup match to claim the Grand Slam at a stunned Murrayfield, in one of his five England caps picked up between 1993-5.

Should he be confirmed as coach, he will take charge of a highly-talented Leinster squad, including the likes of Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll, lock Malcolm O'Kelly and wing Denis Hickie.

The Leinstermen were beaten by Perpignan in the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup last season, also failing to retain the Celtic League title which they had won the previous year.

By Mark Smith

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