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Alan's off to World Cup . . . as pundit

FORMER rugby player Alan Quinlan is set to follow fellow sportsman Brent Pope by launching a career as a TV pundit.

The Herald can reveal how the retired Munster man is set to make his debut in front of the cameras this autumn, when he takes off for New Zealand to give viewers at home updates on the much anticipated Rugby World Cup.

Surprisingly, however, Quinlan hasn't been snapped up by RTE, but will instead be working for ITV.

Quinlan (37) retired from the game earlier this year and explained how landing the coveted gig with the British station will make his absence from the pitch easier to deal with.

"I'm heading over to New Zealand with ITV as a co-commentator for five weeks so I'm really looking forward to that," he said. "I was delighted when I was asked.

"It means I'll still be part of it all in some way. It will be strange not being there with the Irish team but at least I'll be able to catch up with them over there.

"Being close to the World Cup is always a dream for anyone who plays. This is a great opportunity for me to still be at the World Cup and experience all the buzz and excitement


"I'd be quietly confident that we will do very well over there," he added.

Dad-of-one Alan admits that his longterm goal is to secure further work on the small screen.

"I'd definitely like to get into doing some more media work, it's something I'd have a big interest in," he said.

"Now that I'm retired from playing rugby professionally I want to stay involved in some way, if I can.

"We'll see how I get on over in New Zealand first and take it from there."

Quinlan was himself part of Ireland's squad at the 2003 World Cup in Australia and scored two tries in the tournament before dislocating his shoulder scoring a vital try against Argentina.

He was again named in Ireland's 2007 World Cup squad but didn't make any appearances, leading to Ireland's then coach Eddie O'Sullivan being widely criticised for not using his bench.

Alan is currently starring in RTE reality series, Stars Go Racing, which debuted this week in association with Horse Racing Ireland.

He says it's a challenge he's thoroughly enjoying and says horse-training and racing is an interest he hopes to keep up once the programme ends.

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