Leinster rugby stars go blonde and bald in bid to raise funds for departing coach McQuilkin

A NUMBER OF Leinster’s rugby stars have dyed their hair or shaved it off altogether in a show of support for departing defence coach Kurt McQuilkin.

McQuilkin, who oversaw Leinster’s defence become the best in the Pro12 last season, is returning to his native New Zealand for personal reasons.

And his colleagues at Leinster Rugby staged a Shave or Dye fundraising event for McQuilkin, a former Leinster player and captain, and his family today.

A host of Leinster players went blonde for the occasion, including Cian Healy, Jack McGrath, Noel Reid and Mike Ross, while Josh van der Flier went for a more aerodynamic option.

Former Munster and Ireland legend Paul O’Connell is also doing his bit for the cause, putting a signed print of himself up for auction.

“This is very sad news for Kurt and his family and our priority is supporting Kurt in his decision as best we can,” Leinster head coach Leo Cullen said.

“He will head back home with our very best wishes in very trying circumstances and with the thanks of everyone at Leinster Rugby for his stellar contribution over the last 12 months.

“Right now our focus is on Kurt and ensuring that his move back home is as seamless as possible.”

Leinster are yet to appoint a successor to McQuilkin as defence coach for their coming season, which gets under way when they host Benetton Treviso at the RDS on Friday night (7.35pm).

To make a donation to the fundraising efforts for the McQuilkin family, visit http://bit.ly/2bOBz5k

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