The World Cup winner and England attack backs coach between 2012 and 2015 has served under Conor O’Shea with Italy since 2016, but is set to be part of the new Irish era after Joe Schmidt impending departure.
Catt’s appointment means that the entire ensemble of coaches from England’s dismal home World Cup in 2015 will be coaching in Ireland next year.
Farrell and Catt will be with the national team, Graham Rowntree is joining Munster as part of their coaching team after the World Cup, and Stuart Lancaster has been a pivotal member of Leinster’s backroom staff since 2016.
This sizeable English contingent in Ireland has left some fans questioning the resources and coaching set-up in Ireland currently. Of the four provinces, Leo Cullen is the only Irish head coach and the Irish Rugby Football Union has been criticised for failing to create a pathway for domestic coaches.
The Catt is out of the bag in Ireland https://t.co/Njbuoakjos
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) June 23, 2019
Of course, there is nothing wrong with having foreign coaches in charge of a national team. Ireland have had great success with Schmidt, as have Wales with Warren Gatland and England with Eddie Jones.
However, what fans are concerned about is Catt’s credentials and whether this appointment in Dublin is a case of recycling old coaches.
Catt’s tenure with England did not end too well and some feel his indifferent time with Italy does not warrant this calling. However, rather than look for a new and emerging coach, the IRFU went for an option who has already worked with Farrell. This is what has been said:
Massive endorsement of the IRFU coaching pathway!
— Niall Moran (@nylomoran) June 22, 2019
Would the IRFU be interested in buying a bridge?
— Bruce Wayne (@mosstradamouse) June 21, 2019
Might as well call Ireland England 2!!, do we have any Irish staff left?
— peter day (@petertherebel) June 22, 2019
So, eh. I'm not being harsh. But, in 2020 our head coach will be English? And now another England great is gonna in the backroom team for us??? Doesn't feel right, somehow.
— JPW3:16 (@Wall82Jonathan) June 21, 2019
The first rugby care home, how sweet.
— mike richards (@MCR_Author) June 22, 2019
I wonder … a lot of serious Irish talent in the provinces , especially Connacht – hopefully given a chance in the next few years
— Noelie (@noeliehoward) June 21, 2019
2023 outside bet on Irish coaching ticket.?
— ger (@gerardbarry27) June 21, 2019
Interesting. Completes the full set of England 2015 coaches being in Ireland. Not 100% sure how good a choice he'll be, but then I said that about Farrell. https://t.co/51lyoE9A97
— Thomas Moroney (@tmoroney4697) June 21, 2019
Same old faces getting a different gig and we wonder why the games gone sterile.
— Social Disorder (@Manco902) June 22, 2019
Of course, Catt would have learned a lot during his time with England and Italy and may be able to provide a lot to Ireland. There is no denying that he was hugely respected player and a great tactician which usually translates well into the world of coaching.
However, it is more what this appointment represents that fans are not happy about, as the coaching positions in Ireland continue to be outsourced – primarily to Englishmen – rather than from within.
WATCH: Episode four of the RugbyPass Rugby Explorer series where Jim Hamilton visits Italy, the country Ireland have recruited Mike Catt from
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