Ireland Under-20 head coach Noel McNamara has begun a three-month professional development placement with New Zealand’s North Harbour who kick off their Mitre 10 Cup campaign against Northland on Thursday.
The IRFU High Performance Unit is driving the continuing professional development (CDP) of the IRFU coaches that are deployed across the provinces, with Noel McNamara’s placement just one of a host of experiences coordinated and facilitated by the IRFU.
Noel’s placement follows similar investment by the IRFU in coach development which saw Ulster defence coach Jared Payne join the Ireland team on tour to Australia this summer, and Ronan O’Gara, Girvan Dempsey and Felix Jones spend time within the Ireland set-up on the 2017 USA and Japan tour.
McNamara will spend three months with North Harbour, coaching under the tutelage of Tom Coventry who is primed to become assistant coach to the Auckland Blues in Super Rugby next season. Once McNamara has completed the Mitre 10 Cup season, he will return to Ireland to continue in his role as Ireland Under-20 head coach and coach of Leinster’s Development squad.
David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented: “The aim of the CPD programme is to expose our best up-and-coming Irish coaches to other rugby models and to take them out of their comfort zone of coaching within the Irish system.
“In Noel’s case the experience he will gain from coaching in such a competitive tournament is invaluable, especially considering the calibre of those in the North Harbour coaching group led by Tom, who has Super Rugby coaching experience with the Chiefs and is due to link up with the Blues in the new year.”