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.
The South African native has worked in all areas of his field as a strength and conditioning coach, a high performance manager and a sports scientist in performance research.
He began his career as the fitness coach to the Western Province rugby team in 1992 and held the position of strength and conditioning coach to the South African national team in 1994.
In tandem with his role with these teams, he was appointed as the Sports Science Director in the University of Cape Town in 1990 before setting up his own private biokinetics practice in Cape Town.
When the sport turned professional in 1995, he left South Africa to join the Welsh Rugby Union as the national fitness coach where he oversaw all aspects of sports science.
He then moved north to Scotland where he took up a position with the Scottish Institute of Sport and has been the head of strength and conditioning for the Sportscotland Institute of Sport since 2001.
His role with Sportscotland has seen him work with a variety of sports and he will be working with several athletes in the London Olympic Games before he fully takes up his position with the IRFU in September.
All strength and conditioning programmes and coaches in the provincial teams are centrally managed by the IRFU and Clark will be working closely with the provinces to continue to reinforce the elite fitness pathways.
IRFU Director of Rugby Eddie Wigglesworth welcomed his appointment and said: "The strength and conditioning role is incredibly important and while the IRFU structures have served us well in terms of the preparation of the players in the provincial teams and at international representative level, it was important that we took time to find the right person with the balance of experience and scientific background to drive on the fitness structures within the elite performance pathways.
"Dave Clark has vast experience of managing and implementing such programmes and while he has the added experience of working with other sports, his foundation has been in the development of rugby conditioning, giving what we feel is an important benefit to the skills he will bring to the position."
Clark was equally enthusiastic when commenting on his new appointment and said: "Irish rugby is certainly continuing its high achievements and I have been impressed by the structures and systems in place for sports science and fitness within performance rugby at the IRFU.
"I am looking forward to this exciting challenge, fully aware of the work that lies ahead to ensure that elite conditioning continues to move forward in what is an increasingly competitive area of the game."
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