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Ex-Ireland captain Anderson retiring from role with Ulster academy

The 65-year-old won 27 caps for Ireland during his playing days.

ULSTER HAVE CONFIRMED that former Ireland captain Willie Anderson is retiring from his coaching position with the province’s academy.

The 65-year-old has been in the role since 2016, focusing on working with the young forwards in Ulster’s academy and A team.

Anderson won 27 caps for Ireland during his playing days, captaining his country and Ulster. The second row famously led his Irish team in a challenge to the All Blacks’ haka in 1989, walking all the way up to Kiwi captain Wayne ‘Buck’ Shelford.

willie-anderson-faces-up-to-wayne-shelford-1989 Anderson and Ireland challenge the haka in 1989. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Anderson moved into coaching after his playing days ended, working under Matt Williams for Leinster and the Scotland national team, while also having a spell in London Irish.

He coached in the schools and club game in his native province before taking on his Ulster academy role in 2016 but has now confirmed his retirement at the end of this month.

“As a native Ulster man, I have always been intensely passionate about my province’s rugby,” said Anderson.

“It has been an honour to be able to give something back to rugby in Ulster during my final years of coaching.”


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Ulster Rugby CEO Jonny Petrie thanked Anderson for his service:

“It is without doubt that Willie’s legacy and influence will be felt for many years to come at Ulster Rugby,” said Petrie.

“He has made an immeasurable contribution to rugby over the years as both a player and as a coach – and I can say this as someone who benefited first-hand from his exceptional coaching skills. 

“It is certain that Willie will remain in close contact with us as a club, and we look forward to seeing the seeds of talent which he has planted come to fruition in the years ahead. 

“On behalf of all of Ulster Rugby, we wish Willie a happy and healthy retirement, and say thank-you to him for his outstanding contribution to Ulster and the game of rugby.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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