Currie Cup

Highly-rated Irish coach heading for South Africa to join Sharks

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Noel McNamara. (Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Noel McNamara. (Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster's academy manager Noel McNamara is set to leave the Irish club to join a South African franchise.

Leinster confirmed the news on their official website, and while they did not reveal what South African team McNamara would be joining, reports indicate that he will join the Sharks.

According to Irish publication, The42, sources in Ireland and South Africa have confirmed that McNamara will further his career as an assistant coach in Durban.

McNamara, who was head coach of the Ireland Under-20s from 2018 to 2020, will start his new role ahead of the Ultimate Rugby Champions (URC) which starts in September.

His role at the Sharks will likely be as attack guru under head coach Sean Everitt.

"I am grateful to the IRFU and Leinster Rugby for helping to facilitate this move which will be another great learning and development opportunity for me as a coach," McNamara said in a statement.

"I have received great support to date on my coaching journey garnering experience with multiple underage teams, exposure to senior provincial and national coaches and getting the opportunity of a three-month placement with North Harbour in New Zealand. This appointment is exciting for both me and my family and I am looking forward to getting started."

David Nucifora, the Irish Rugby Football Union's performance director, said he expected McNamara to learn a great deal in South Africa.

"Noel is a smart ambitious young coach who has achieved success at underage level.  This is an exciting senior role for Noel in South Africa where he will be exposed to a different rugby and coaching culture and which will no doubt greatly benefit his development.

"Noel has progressed through the coaching pathway in Ireland and in recent discussions with Noel, it was clear that he was in need of a fresh challenge that would help accelerate his coaching career.  We looked at different environments and what could be a good fit and this definitely offers a fantastic opportunity in a senior role.

"Noel’s time in South Africa is sure to benefit Irish rugby in the future.  We wish him well and will be monitoring his progress closely."

At the Sharks, McNamara will effectively replace David Williams, who has joined English outfit Bath as attack coach.

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