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Les Kiss will be tough to replace on Ireland staff, says Rory Best

Les Kiss: The Ireland defence coach expects his players to be fully focused on beating Wales.
Image: Les Kiss is taking over as Ulster rugby director and will be tough to replace

Rory Best believes Ireland will find it difficult to replace departing defence coach Les Kiss.

The popular Australian is taking over as rugby director of Guinness PRO12 side Ulster, with Ireland coach Joe Schmidt left looking for a replacement ahead of the Six Nations early next year.

Hooker Best hopes Ireland will have as much luck replacing Kiss as they did when appointing Simon Easterby as forwards coach in the summer of 2014 when John Plumtree left that role.

"I think it will be tough: if you're trying to replace like-for-like in terms of Les, for me he's one of the best defence coaches in the world," said Best. "I'd have no problem standing over that.

"It's going to be very tough, but with Joe there, he managed to make it work when John Plumtree left. Joe brought in Simon Easterby and he's brought different strengths, and I don't think the forward play has suffered any for that.

Rory Best Ireland
Image: Rory Best hopes Ireland can strike gold as they did when appointing Simon Easterby

"Joe knows what he wants, knows what he likes and knows how he wants Ireland to go forward. And he'll bring in someone accordingly."

One of Schmidt's other quandaries is selecting a new captain, Paul O'Connell's international career having ended in a great deal of pain when he tore his hamstring in the World Cup clash with France.

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Ireland flanker Peter O'Mahony
Image: Peter O'Mahony could captain Ireland but is unlikely to play in the Six Nations

Peter O'Mahony is one of the leading candidates to take over from O'Connell, but Munster coach Anthony Foley does not think the back-rower will be available for the start of the Six Nations, if at all during the tournament.

O'Mahony's World Cup also ended prematurely after he sustained knee ligament damage, and Foley would be surprised if he played again before March, by when the majority of the Six Nations will have been played.

"It should be March in terms of Peter (O'Mahony), it's a fairly lengthy recovery," Foley said. "Big injuries are part of the game at the moment unfortunately.

"He will come back, it's a long road but hopefully we'll see him before the end of the season."

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