Les Kiss has confirmed that he will be a permanent member of Joe Schmidt’s Ireland coaching team upon completion of the summer tour to the United States and Canada.
Kiss had been appointed acting head coach for next month’s Tests in Houston and Toronto, but until today’s squad announcement his future beyond that was in question.
However, the Australian will take charge of Ireland’s defence once Leinster boss Schmidt assumes full control after the summer.
“We’ve had a simple conversation and I’m very happy to be involved. I’m looking forward to working with Joe,” Kiss said.
“I’ve known Joe since he came to Ireland and have worked with him before at the start of his Leinster tenure. We get on well.”
Schmidt, in the midst of successive cup finals with Leinster having won the Amlin Challenge Cup on Friday and preparing for the RaboDirect PRO12 final against Ulster this weekend, had some input into the make-up of the squad bound for North America.
Rory Best will lead the 28-man party after being overlooked by the British and Irish Lions.
Best was expected to be campaigning in Australia this summer, but was left out by Lions head coach Warren Gatland in favour of England’s Dylan Hartley.
The Ulster hooker, who was also captain of Ireland’s tour in 2009, leads a squad containing seven uncapped players in scrum-half Kieran Marmion, centre Stuart Olding, scrum-half Paul Marshall, full-back Robbie Henshaw, prop Jamie Hagan, openside Tommy O’Donnell and hooker Mike Sherry.
“We talked about players to be selected but because Joe’s still involved with Leinster at the moment he didn’t want to interfere too much,” Kiss said.
“But it’s been busy for me and busy for him – he has another final coming up this week. He’s happy for me to run the tour, there are no issues.
“He’ll make his way over at some stage, which will be a fantastic opportunity for him to observe some of the players and see how they perform in a Test match.”
Wing Keith Earls, centre Gordon D’Arcy, scrum-half Eoin Reddan, centre Luke Marshall and wing Craig Gilroy miss the tour due to injury.
Lock Donnacha Ryan is rehabilitating shoulder and rib problems at Munster, but Kiss informed Lions selectors that he is available to tour if required.
“Donnacha could play – if the Lions called him up tomorrow he could play, but it’s just an opportunity for him to have a bit of rest and recover,” he said.
“He definitely has a chance of being called up by the Lions, but I’m not privy to anything and a standby list hasn’t been announced.”