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Peter Malone takes over as interim Ireland boss for the under-20 World Championship as Nigel Carolan joins Connacht coaching ticket


Nigel Carolan. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Nigel Carolan. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile


Nigel Carolan. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Peter Malone has been appointed U20s interim Head Coach for the upcoming World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia in June after it was confirmed that Nigel Carolan would be joining Connacht's coaching ticket.

Malone, Munster Rugby's Elite Player Development Manager, has been assistant coach to Carolan with the Ireland U20s since 2015.

Connacht announced today that Carolan and Jimmy Duffy would be joining Kieran Keane's background team at the Sportsground next season.

Kieran Campbell, the Ulster Academy Manager and Ireland U19 head coach, has been added to the Ireland U20's coaching ticket for the World Rugby U20 Championship.  The coaching structures for the U20 squad will be reviewed following this summer's tournament.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented, "Peter's experience at this level and knowledge of the player group will provide important continuity ahead of June's World Rugby U20 Championship.  Kieran will also add a wealth of experience to the coaching group.

"Nigel has done some fantastic work with the U20s over the past three years including reaching last year's U20 Championship final.  We are delighted that Connacht have offered him the opportunity to further develop as a coach in a senior role with the provincial side.

"The coaching opportunity with the U20 squad is an important element in the IRFU's coach development pathway as it provides our Academy coaches with an outlet to develop and challenge themselves within the international game.”

Ireland have been drawn in Pool B with Italy, New Zealand and Scotland.

Carolan has been head of the academy at Connacht for the past 13 years and had been the under-20s head coach since 2015, leading the team to its first ever World Rugby U20 Championship final in June 2016.

Carolan’s former teammate and fellow Galway man Jimmy Duffy has also been confirmed as a member of Keane’s backroom team for next season.

Duffy, who had previously held the role of Elite Player Development Officer with the Academy, was first appointed Forwards Coach ahead of the 2015/16 season and was part of the successful coaching team that led the province to the Guinness PRO12 title last summer.

Commenting on the coaching announcements, Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane said: “We are delighted that both Nigel and Jimmy will be part of the new-look coaching team under Kieran Keane. The fact that both are local coaches who have come through the Connacht system is a massive positive for the club and further illustrates our vision of Grassroots to Green Shirts.

“Jimmy is well established within the backroom team after two seasons as Forwards Coach and Nigel brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the game from his time as Connacht Academy Manager and Ireland U20’s head coach.

“We are currently in the process of finalising the full makeup of the backroom team and we hope to have further news in the coming weeks.”

Nigel Carolan said: “To coach at the top level in Connacht is a huge honour and I’m delighted to get this opportunity.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my 13 years working with the Academy and I am really proud of what we have achieved here. For me personally, I think the time is right to move on to a new challenge and I’m really looking forward to working with Kieran and with Jimmy once again.”

Online Editors