Paul O'Connell joins Ireland set-up as forwards coach

‘I am really looking forward to working with Andy (Farrell) and the rest of the coaching group’, said the Irish legend.

Ireland and Munster legend Paul O’Connell.
Ireland and Munster legend Paul O’Connell.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

IRELAND HEAD COACH Andy Farrell has brought former captain Paul O’Connell on board as forwards coach.

Simon Easterby previously held the role but will remain as part of the coaching set-up as defence coach.

O’Connell won 108 caps during his illustrious Ireland career and skippered the side to Six Nations success in 2014. 

He appeared in seven test matches for the British & Irish Lions across three tours and lifted the Heineken Cup twice with Munster. 

Since retirement, O’Connell has worked in a coaching capacity with the Munster Academy, Ireland Under-20s and Top 14 side Stade Francais.

“I am really looking forward to working with Andy and the rest of the coaching group,” said O’Connell.

“I worked with Simon as a player and am looking forward to working with him again. It’s an exciting young group of players to be involved with and there are talented forwards coming through across the four provinces that will no doubt be pushing for international selection in the coming months and years.”

Ireland boss Farrell added:  “Paul brings a wealth of rugby knowledge with him and as forwards coach he will have responsibility for the forwards including the line-out working alongside John (Fogarty). He will also be another strong voice and leader within the group.

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“Simon (Easterby) has a real passion for defence and having developed Ireland’s forward play over the past six years with the additional responsibility for the defence over the past 12 months, he will now be able to focus his energy and rugby intellect on this area of our game.

“The weekend’s Interpro games and the European fixtures in the weeks ahead will give players the opportunity to push for selection for the Six Nations squad. The squad will not be selected until after the Champions Cup Round 4 fixtures have been completed.”

IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora added: “Paul is a young Irish coach with a huge amount of international rugby experience. We have been keen to find the right opportunity for him within Irish Rugby and we think the fit with the national squad will work well. He joins the national coaching group with immediate effect as they prepare for the upcoming Six Nations Championship.”

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