Leinster Academy coach Noel McNamara off to South Africa to work with the Sharks

The IRFU has confirmed that highly-rated Leinster Academy boss Noel McNamara will join a South African franchise in “a senior role” next season with the Sharks favourites to land his signature.

his is not the first move abroad for the Clare man who is a former coach of Glenstal Abbey, Clongowes Wood College and the Ireland U-20s, having previously spent a season working in New Zealand with North Harbour.

McNamara has been running the Leinster Academy since Peter Smyth moved to the IRFU in 2019, but with no opportunities in the senior ticket currently available he has gone to South Africa with the union’s blessing to get a taste of another rugby culture.

“Noel is a smart ambitious young coach who has achieved success at underage level,” IRFU performance director David Nucifora said.

“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.”

McNamara is excited by the move which has yet to be confirmed by the United Rugby Championship franchise.

“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,” he told the IRFU website.

“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.”

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