The final piece of Declan Kidney’s coaching team has been put in place with the announcement that Paul Pook will be joining the Ireland set-up as strength and conditioning coach up to and including the next Rugby World Cup in 2011.
Paul Pook comes to the Ireland set-up with a wealth of experience and also a reputation for innovation in the field of rugby fitness.
Originally a native of Wales, the former professional player and Wales Sevens representative has worked in the field of sports science and fitness since 1994, beginning his career with the University of Wales.
He then began to specialise in the area of rugby fitness where he worked with professional outfit Ebbw Vale (1998 to 2000) and the Wales Under-21 squad (1998 to 2001).
He then moved to English Premiership side NEC Harlequins in 2000 where he was head of fitness until 2005.
Since then, he has worked as a high performance consultant to various outfits including the Ireland Under-21 squad and in addition to this, he has aided the delivery of the IRFU’s certified conditioning courses over the last three years and worked at various levels within the professional and representative ranks of Irish rugby.
He is also a well-known published author in the area of fitness and was the co-author of ‘Complete Conditioning for Rugby’ and ‘The Core Workout.’
Commenting on the appointment, Declan Kidney said: “Paul brings excellent experience in this area and importantly a good understanding and knowledge of working with the provincial teams.
“As with all of the other areas of coaching, we want to be able to work closely with the provinces to allow a smooth transition for the players into and out of the Ireland team with their provincial teams and clubs, with fitness and conditioning a key element to this.
“Paul will be important in this respect and together with the level of expertise that he brings, he is a welcome addition to the management team.”
Pook said: “To get the opportunity to work with such a talented group of professional players and coaches is an exciting prospect.
“My experience of working with the Irish players has been very positive and this is a testament to the excellent work of the provincial fitness staff.
“International rugby demands the highest levels of fitness and hopefully my background and knowledge will add something to help the team to be successful in the coming years.”