IRFU appoint new fitness coach


THE IRFU have appointed a new fitness coach, Dave Clark, whose expertise in biokinetics makes him knowledgeable on issues surrounding the protection of the human body from blunt impact injury and collision threats. Clark is to take up the position as head of fitness and will oversee all areas of elite performance in professional and representative teams. He takes over from Liam Hennessy.

Clark is a performance, strength and conditioning scientist with over 20 years’ experience in team sports and will be working with several Scottish athletes at the London Olympic games before he fully takes up his position with the IRFU in September.

He began his career as the fitness coach to the Western Province team in 1992 before becoming strength and conditioning coach for South Africa in 1994. In tandem with these roles, he was appointed as the sports science director at the University of Cape Town in 1990 before setting up his biokinetics practice in Cape Town.

When rugby turned professional in 1995, he joined the Welsh Rugby Union as the national fitness coach where he oversaw all aspects of sports science. He then moved to Scotland where he took up a position with the Scottish Institute of Sport and has been the head of strength and conditioning for the Sportscotland Institute of Sport since 2001.

“Irish Rugby is certainly continuing its high achievements and I have been impressed by the structures and systems in place for sports science and fitness within performance rugby at the IRFU,” said Clark. “I am looking forward to this exciting challenge, fully aware of the work that lies ahead to ensure elite conditioning continues to move forward in what is an increasingly competitive area of the game.”

All strength and conditioning programmes and coaches in the provincial teams are managed by the IRFU and Clark will be working closely with the provinces to continue to reinforce the elite fitness pathways.

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has expressed disappointment for Steven Shingler after the International Rugby Board ruled the London Irish back is eligible only for Wales. The IRB council ruled unanimously that Shingler is ineligible to play Test rugby for Scotland having been “captured” by Wales after playing in an under-20 international against France in 2011.