Kieran Campbell steps down from coaching roles with Ulster and Ireland U20s

Former Ulster scrumhalf reported to be joining Ealing Trailfinders in the English Championship

Kieran Campbell’s decision to step down as Ulster Academy manager and also as the Ireland Under-20 coach to take up an appointment, reported to be with English Championship club Ealing Trailfinders, means that the IRFU is looking to fill a number of vacant positions within the underage coaching structure.

The union should be in a position shortly to confirm Peter Malone’s successor as head of the Munster Academy but must now begin the process to fill the vacancies left by Campbell. The former Ireland scrumhalf was appointed to the head coach’s position with the Irish 20s in January on a one-year term initially, succeeding Noel McNamara with whom he previously worked as an assistant.

There is no rush in terms of the national age-grade role because the Irish 20s won't play against until June in a Six Nations tournament that's likely to take on the World Cup format of an as yet unspecified number of matches every four to five days. Rather than a standard home and away format the current suggestion is that it will be based in one or two locations; Cardiff is one venue that's being considered.

Peter Smyth, IRFU head of elite player development, said: "Firstly, I would like to start by acknowledging the immense service Kieran has given to both Ulster and Irish rugby over the last 20 years in his various roles encompassing all aspects of the game. His playing career ran through the entire spectrum of the elite player pathway from national age-grade sides through to the Ulster and Ireland senior teams.

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“Following on from this, his positions with Ulster Rugby and the IRFU as firstly an elite player development officer and then subsequently academy manager and national age-grade coach, leaves a true legacy of a player-centred approach to development across all programmes, systems and teams he has engaged with.

“Kieran has played an integral part in the progressions of numerous players into the professional game. Many have cited publicly the influence he has had on the beginnings and support of their careers.”