Connacht Rugby’s Nigel Carolan has been appointed as Ireland U20 Head Coach following Mike Ruddock’s decision to step down from the role.

Nigel, who has been the Connacht Academy Manager since 2004, will retain his role at Connacht while assuming the Head Coach role with the PwC Ireland U20s.  Nigel played professionally for Connacht between 1996 and 2000 before taking up a role as a Development Officer with the western province.

Nigel was an assistant coach with Ireland U20s from 2008 to 2010 which incorporated IRB Junior World Championships in Japan and Argentina.

Speaking of his appointment, Nigel Carolan, said, “It is an exciting opportunity to be working with the top U20 talent from the four provinces.  I am looking forward to working closely with the other provincial academy managers to maximise the potential of the talent at our disposal.”

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented, “Nigel’s appointment is an illustration of our strategy to create greater alignment within the National Pathways by utilising our coaching expertise within the Provincial Academies.  He will be supported by his fellow provincial academy managers and we wish them well for the coming season.”

Mike Ruddock, who was installed as Ireland U20 head coach in 2010, has decided to pursue other coaching opportunities.

Mike Ruddock commented, “I have enjoyed my time working with the various groups of young Irish players who have competed at U20 level over the past four years.  I feel the time is now right to pursue other opportunities in coaching and I wish the new set up and the latest crop of players the best of luck for the season ahead.”



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