10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Educated at CBC where he played at all levels, he later captained the UCC under 20s and played senior and junior rugby with UCC. He played with London Irish and toured with them in Australia in 1990 before a knee injury brought a premature end to his playing days.
He had begun coaching (1984) with UCC U20s, and coached London Irish 2nd XV in 1991, becoming assistant to first team coach, Hika Reid in '91 and '92. On his return to Ireland he had spells with UCC, Young Munster ('98 & '99) and was appointed Director of Coaching in Cork Constitution and assistant first team coach in 2000. His two seasons as head coach have seen Cork Con top the AIB League Division One table.
Having coached in Limerick and Cork he will be well acquainted with the existing players in the Munster squad and fully appreciate the bond between club and province.. Seen as a good organiser, a focussed and innovative coach, Hickey is passionate about the game and his ambition is to "continue the success levels, test my coaching ability at the next level and ultimately like to progress to national level."
Alan Gaffney, welcoming the announcement said, "I'm delighted to have Brian assisting me and am really looking forward to working with him. I have seen him in action, most recently in the closing stages of the AIB League, and I think he's a top quality coach who will serve Munster well."