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IRFU confirm Ireland U20s replacement for Richie Murphy

By Ian Cameron
Ireland U20s coach Richie Murphy (Photo by World Rugby via Getty Images)

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has confirmed a new look coaching team for the Ireland U20s at the upcoming World Rugby U20 Championship in South Africa.

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Willie Faloon is set to lead the team as the head coach following Richie Murphy’s appointment as the head coach for Ulster Rugby. Murphy took over from Dan McFarland on an interim basis but, as first reported by RugbyPass, Ulster have decided to keep Murphy on a permanent basis. Faloon – previously the Ireland U20s defence coach – has experience from the last two U20 Six Nations and the previous World Rugby U20 Championship.

Former Munster and Ireland flyahalf Ian Keatley will continue as the attack and backs coach, with Aaron Dundon retaining his role as forwards coach.

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Former Ireland international and Ulster halfback Neil Doak joins the team as a senior Coach, adding significant experience to the setup after coaching stints for Ireland U18s and Combined Academies.

Peter Smyth, IRFU Head of Elite Player Development, said: “We would like to firstly congratulate Richie on his new role with Ulster. He has done an exceptional job with the Ireland U20s in recent seasons and on behalf of all the management and players, we wish him well for the remainder of the season with Ulster and beyond.

“It was important for us to maintain consistency within our group so we are pleased to confirm the appointment of Willie as Ireland U20s Head Coach for this summer, with Aaron and Ian continuing in their roles and Neil joining the team as a Senior Coach.

“A World Rugby U20 Championship is always an exciting challenge and coming off the back of the Six Nations, the group are motivated to work hard in the weeks ahead to put themselves in the best position to perform against the world’s best in South Africa.”

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Enda McDonagh, Managing Partner, PwC Ireland, added: “On behalf of PwC, I would like to acknowledge Richie’s immense contribution to the success of the Ireland U20s in recent years, and thank him for the work he and the wider coaching team have done in laying the foundations for the tournaments ahead, starting with South Africa this summer.

“I would like to congratulate Willie on his appointment as Ireland U20s Head Coach for the World Rugby U20 Championship and wish him every success in the weeks and months ahead as he and the staff prepare our squad for another exciting summer of U20s rugby. Everyone at PwC is looking forward to supporting the team again on the world stage.”

The World Rugby U20s Championship will take place from June 29 to July 19 in Stellenbosch and Cape Town, Western Cape. The specific Pool schedule will be announced by World Rugby at the end of the month. In preparation for the championship, the Ireland U20s will engage in three Challenge Matches against Irish Universities on May 24, Ulster ‘A’ on June 1, and Munster ‘A’ on June 7. These matches are part of their preparations before departing for South Africa.

The Ireland U20s team for the tour will be named in June.

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