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13 January 2021

The IRFU has today confirmed that Ulster Rugby Academy Manager, Kieran Campbell has been appointed to the Ireland Under-20 Head Coach role for the 2021 season, taking over from Noel McNamara.

Campbell had been Ireland’s U20 Assistant Coach under McNamara for the last three seasons, including the memorable 2019 Grand Slam-winning campaign, and brings a wealth of experience to the role.

Former Ireland, London Irish, Ulster and Connacht scrum-half, Campbell, who played 115 times for Ulster between 2001 and 2008, was appointed Head of the  Ulster Rugby Academy in March 2015 – a role he will continue with, alongside his Ireland U20 position.

This followed his time spent as the Elite Performance Development Officer at the Academy, a role he was appointed to in 2012, which saw him work as the backs specialist for two years before being appointed as Acting Academy Manager in July 2014, before taking up his current role.

Campbell will be assisted as Head Coach by Forwards Coach Colm Tucker and former Ireland international Denis Leamy, who joins the Ireland U20s set-up as Defence Coach.

Campbell played 115 times for Ulster between 2001 and 2008.

Of his appointment, Kieran Campbell, said:

“I’m really excited and privileged to take up this position with the Ireland Under-20 coaching team. The foundations have been laid already under Noel McNamara, with Grand Slam success in the 2019 Six Nations campaign and a hugely positive 2020 season. I hope to build on this in 2021 with an exciting young group of players, working alongside a fantastic coaching staff.”

Following the announcement today that the Women’s and Under-20s Six Nations Championships have been postponed, Campbell added :

“The postponement of the Six Nations is disappointing for the players, coaches and management, however the most important thing is people’s health and we fully understand and support the decision. We must all follow public health advice and the guidelines in place to protect our families and communities.

“The IRFU will explore the options and formats for the Championship to take place at a later date with Six Nations and the other Unions and we’ve been fortunate to have delivered one camp before Christmas. We were able to build a foundation of work through that camp and through remote video calls with the players in recent weeks.

“With this body of work completed and our commitment to exposing players to competitive game-time within the current restrictions – including the ‘A’ fixture between Ulster and Leinster this Friday – players, coaches and management will be striving to ensure the group is prepared to perform for the 2021 Championship at a later date.”