Former Ireland hooker Rory Best is back in professional rugby after being revealed by the Seattle Seawolves as their new technical coach.
In a major recruitment move by the side, Best will work alongside former Ospreys head coach Allen Clarke and Pate Tuilevuka, who takes over as interim head coach, switching from his previous role as Director of Rugby.
The Seawolves said in a statement: “In addition to the changes with current staff, the Seawolves have added further support to the coaching team in Allen Clarke and Rory Best, bringing vast experience to bolster Seattle’s technical and high-performance skills. Clarke and Best will be with Seattle through the remainder of the 2021 season, helping direct the current campaign and laying the groundwork for the future development of the club.”
Best retired at the end of 2019 after returning from the Rugby World Cup in Japan. The signing of the 38-year-old is a major statement of intent from Seattle Seawolves and an adventurous first foray into professional coaching for Best. According to the MLR side, Best “joins the Seawolves coaching staff to help build elite player skills and capabilities.”
Best earned 124 Ireland caps and toured twice with the British and Irish Lions side in 2013 and 2017. Many had expected the veteran Ulster hooker to return to farming on a permanent basis, but he’s clearly been lured by the exciting potential of the start-up American league.
Clarke meanwhile had already been involved in the MLR, having joined the Dallas Jackals as Director of Rugby. However, Dallas opted out of the 2021 season, so Clarke has made himself available as a technical coach to the Seawolves.
Clarke’s most recent European gig had been at the Ospreys, who he joined in 2017, initially as forwards coach and then as head coach. A poor start to the 2019 season saw Clarke sacked mid-season from the PRO14 franchise.
Clarke was capped eight times as a hooker for Ireland and won the 1999 Heineken Cup with his club side Ulster; the first European title for an Irish side.
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