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IRFU confirm Catt's Ireland switch

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'We have secured a talented practitioner who will add significant value'

Following speculative weekend stories about who will be joining the Andy Farrell-led coaching ticket in Ireland following the completion of the 2019 World Cup, the IRFU has confirmed that current Italy assistant coach Mike Catt will join the backroom team in time for the 2020 Guinness Six Nations.

Attack coach with Conor O’Shea’s Italy since March 2016, Catt previously held a similar role with England between 2012 and 2015. Prior to that, he was a player/coach and attack coach at London Irish for four years.

As a player, Catt was a World Cup winner with England in 2003 winning 75 caps for his country and a two-time tourist with the British and Irish Lions (1997 and 2001). During his playing career, he won four Six Nations titles with England and three Premiership titles and a European Cup with Bath.

IRFU performance director David Nucifora said: “Mike brings a wealth of experience to the coaching group and has been operating at the highest level of the international game for some time.

“He was a smart and innovative player and he brings those attributes and much more besides in his approach to coaching and player development.

“We feel that we have secured a talented practitioner who will add significant value to the group and to the wider Irish system.”

Mike Catt added: “I am looking forward to RWC in Japan and seeing the group of players we have here in Italy fulfil their potential and achieve the objectives we have set for ourselves. 

“Obviously it is an honour to be given this future opportunity with Ireland, but I will focus on that challenge only after I have given my all for Italy and this group of players.”

Catt’s contract will see him involved with the Ireland team up to and including the Rugby World Cup in 2023. His recruitment means that all four of England’s sacked World Cup 2015 coaches – Leinster’s Stuart Lancaster, Ireland’s Farrell and Munster’s Graham Rowntree and Catt – will be working in Ireland in 2020.

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'We have secured a talented practitioner who will add significant value'