O'Shea rules out Ireland post

Conor O'Shea has ruled himself out of the running to become Ireland's next coach and intends to continue as Harlequins director of rugby.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney's contract expires this summer and it is unlikely to be renewed following a string of poor performances, the latest being Sunday's 12-8 defeat to Scotland.

O'Shea has been installed as the favourite to succeed Kidney but the 42-year-old sees his future at the Stoop.

"I'm contracted to Harlequins until the end of the 2013-14 season. I will be honouring that commitment and hopefully continuing beyond it," said O'Shea, who won 35 caps for Ireland during his playing career.

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt and Ireland U20 coach Mike Ruddock are also in the bookmakers' running but former Ireland international Tony Ward believes O'Shea is the right man to take over from Kidney.

"Conor would be my choice to take Ireland forward," said Ward. "He has the track record, he trusts the people around him and he is Irish at a time when all our provinces are coached by New Zealanders.

"Schmidt and Ruddock are men of substance and strong candidates, while there will always be a place in the game for Declan."

Kidney led Ireland to a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2009, their first in 61 years, but they have won just 11 of their last 27 Tests and were outscored in the second half in all those games.

The former Munster coach has a 53 per cent winning rate with Ireland, much lower than that of his predecessor Eddie O'Sullivan, who won 50 of his 78 Tests in charge.