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An Irish coach for Greek rugby? May 17, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cricket Hockey Rugby.

The Greek Rugby Team called on the luck of the Irish when faced Slovakia in their crucial game in Thessaloniki on May 12.

However, former Leinster scrum-half Niall Doherty, who becomes Greece’s fourth head coach in just two years, believed that Greece has enough talent to win the one-off tie and gain promotion to division 3C of the FINA European league. And he proved right!

“I have watched Slovakia on tape,” Doherty said. “They are big and strong up front and have a good half-back, but I am confident that we will come through it. If we play as well as I know we can, then we should win comfortably.”

Doherty, 53, comes into the Greek setup via Cyprus where he is director of rugby and National coach. It was his organisation of the Cyprus side that thrashed Greece 39-3 in March that tempted the Greek federation to dump New Zealander Matt Bridge and bring Doherty on board. However, according the Cyprus Rugby Federation President, Costas Mastoroudes, the arrangement is only temporary.

“We don’t have any games until the autumn, so when the Greek federation asked if they could borrow Niall we were happy to help out,” he said. “As far as I am concerned though, it is only for this game.”

As a player, Doherty represented Old Belvedere in Dublin where he partnered Irish and British Lions legend Ollie Campbell at half-back. Doherty also played twice for the Leinster senior team before retiring and moving into coaching. The Irishman has already made some changes in personnel including the leadership where Michalis Pelekanos, who has captained Greece in each of their six internationals to date, gives way to Rhodes scrum-half Angelos Seitis. Maybe this means a new era for the Greek Rugby Team? We’ll have to wait and see how they progress.

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