Felipe Contepomi admitted it was a "tough" decision to leave Leinster but that the time was right for him to return home.

The Argentinian is to take up an assistant coach role with the Pumas under boss Michael Cheika at the end of this season.

"It's a great feeling to have that opportunity but it’s been a very tough decision for me," said the 44-year-old old, who spent ten seasons with the province over two stints as both player and as assistant coach.

"There’s no hiding that I’ve got one of the best opportunities in my life to come to the best team in the world in Leinster.

"I had great moments here and now this opportunity came and with the support of Leo [Cullen, head coach] and Leinster I took the chance to go back home.

"There are many other reasons, not just rugby-wise, that I made that decision.

"I’m really happy. For any person, having the opportunity to play for and then coach their country, it’s a proud moment, for me and my family.

"It’s a family thing as well and there are other components that play into the decision.

"In professional rugby, you don't know where you start and you don't know where you finish. In a high-performance profession you always prepare to get better and then opportunities come.

"I never set it as a goal to be in the Argentinean coaching staff.

"Realistically the environment here is second to none and the opportunity came up. I’d like to think I can take a lot of what I've learned here to make Argentina a better team and organisation.

"My time at Leinster has been great from the first minute and it goes further than the results.

"We’ve lost, we’ve won but it’s the experience and the opportunity to work with the people here.

"This institution is special and I always say to the players, it’s not like this everywhere, and you have to look after it and make sure you keep evolving and making this place better.

"From the first minute I’ve been so welcomed but also looked after and cared for, me and my family. I can’t remember a bad day, apart from losing, which I hate, I can’t remember a day saying 'I want to go home’.

"We went through tough times with the pandemic and being away from the people you love but still I would make the same decisions."

Contepomi with Stuart Lancaster at Leinster training on Monday

On the possibility of a third spell at Leinster at some point in the future, the former out-half, who won 87 Pumas caps, said: "I’d never rule out a return. I’d never rule out any opportunity that would come.

"I think I’ve been learning and growing in my capabilities and I’ve been lucky to have Leo and Stuart [Lancaster] and Robin [McBryde], with so much experience. It’s been amazing.

"You don’t know where you will end up and hopefully one day yeah, I could be a head coach but I haven’t got a crystal ball."

Contepomi and the rest of the Leinster staff and players are preparing to host Munster in the final round of the URC on Saturday at the Aviva Stadium (7.15pm), while he will look to add a Heineken Champions Cup to three league titles with victory against La Rochelle in two weeks' time.

Prop Tadhg Furlong (ankle) and wing James Lowe (shin) have both been ruled out of Saturday's derby after suffering injuries in Saturday's win over Toulouse, while Rónan Kelleher will follow the return to play protocols after a head injury assessment.

Back Jordan Larmour has returned to training and may come into contention.

Follow Leinster v Munster (Saturday 7.15pm) in the United Rugby Championship via our live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sport and the RTÉ News app live or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1. Watch Connacht v Zebre (Saturday 5pm) on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player.