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Ireland U-20 Coaching Team Confirmed For World Rugby U-20 Championship

Ireland U-20 Coaching Team Confirmed For World Rugby U-20 Championship

Willie Faloon (left) takes over as Ireland Under-20 Men's head coach for this summer's World Rugby Under-20 Championship in South Africa ©INPHO/Ben Brady

The IRFU is today pleased to confirm the Ireland Under-20 Men’s coaching team for this summer’s World Rugby Under-20 Championship in South Africa.

Following Richie Murphy’s permanent appointment as Ulster head coach, Willie Faloon will take over as Ireland Under-20 head coach for the upcoming Championship.

Faloon had been the Ireland U-20s’ defence coach under Murphy for the last two U-20 Six Nations campaigns, as well as last year’s World Rugby U-20 Championship, and will lead the group to South Africa in June.

Ian Keatley (attack and backs coach) and Aaron Dundon (forwards coach) will continue in their roles, while Neil Doak adds a wealth of coaching experience to the set-up as he joins as a senior coach.

Former Ireland international Doak has coached the Ireland Under-18s and Combined Academies in recent seasons, and he links up with the U-20 squad as preparations for South Africa step up a gear.

This year’s tournament will be played over five match days – between June 29 and July 19 – in the Western Cape regions of Stellenbosch and Cape Town, with World Rugby due to announce the pool schedule at the end of this month.

In advance of their departure for South Africa, the Ireland U-20s will play three challenge matches against the Ireland Students (May 24), Ulster ‘A’ (June 1), and Munster ‘A’ (June 7).

Commenting on today’s announcement, Peter Smyth, the IRFU’s Head of Elite Player Development, said: “We would like to firstly congratulate Richie on his new role with Ulster. He has done an exceptional job with the Ireland U-20s in recent seasons and, on behalf of all the management and players, we wish him well for the remainder of the season with Ulster and beyond.

“It was important for us to maintain consistency within our group so we are pleased to confirm the appointment of Willie as Ireland U-20 head coach for this summer, with Aaron and Ian continuing in their roles and Neil joining the team as a senior coach.

A World Rugby U-20 Championship is always an exciting challenge and, coming off the back of the Six Nations, the group are motivated to work hard in the weeks ahead to put themselves in the best position to perform against the world’s best in South Africa.”

Enda McDonagh, Managing Partner at PwC Ireland, added: “On behalf of PwC, I would like to acknowledge Richie’s immense contribution to the success of the Ireland Under-20s in recent years, and thank him for the work he and the wider coaching team have done in laying the foundations for the tournaments ahead, starting with South Africa this summer.

“I would like to congratulate Willie on his appointment as Ireland U-20 head coach for the World Rugby U-20 Championship and wish him every success in the weeks and months ahead as he and the staff prepare our squad for another exciting summer of U-20 rugby.

“Everyone at PwC is looking forward to supporting the team again on the world stage.”

The Ireland Under-20 Men’s squad (sponsored by PwC) for the World Rugby U-20 Championship will be announced in June.

IRELAND UNDER-20 MEN’S COACHING TEAM – 2024 World Rugby U-20 Championship:

  • Head Coach – Willie Faloon
  • Senior Coach – Neil Doak
  • Attack and Backs Coach – Ian Keatley
  • Forwards Coach – Aaron Dundon