Paul Dean to replace Michael Kearney as Ireland team manager

Paul Dean to replace Michael Kearney as Ireland team manager

Former Irish fly-half Paul Dean will replace Michael Kearney as Ireland's team manager after the November international series.

Kearney will step down after four years in the role following Ireland's final autumn clash, against Australia in Dublin on November 26.

And the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) quickly named former Ireland outside-half Dean as Kearney's replacement.

Dean won 32 international caps and three Triple Crowns between 1981 and 1989, travelling with the British and Irish Lions to Australia in 1989, only to have his tour cut short by injury.

"Paul comes into the role with a great rugby pedigree and an understanding of how challenging international rugby can be," said Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt.

"We will look to integrate him into the management group over the coming months and look forward to working closely with him in the build-up to the 2017 RBS 6 Nations."

Dean set up TopLion Sportswear after his Test career, spending two years in the sports apparel industry. Recently he has combined work as a sports consultant with an active role on Leinster's professional game board.

"It is a great honour to take up this position with the national team," said Dean.

"I am joining a successful and highly motivated group and I look forward to supporting them to achieve further success at the highest level of the game."

Kearney's decision to step down was motivated by a desire to allow the IRFU an early run at their extended planning for World Cup 2019.

Kearney took over the role from Paul McNaughton in January 2012, playing a vital off-field role in Ireland's 2014 and 2015 Six Nations triumphs.

The team manager's role in overseeing logistics, as well as corralling the playing group, must not be underestimated - a fact not lost on Ireland boss Schmidt.

"Mick's experience, reasoning and people skills have added tremendous value to the national players and management over the past five years," said Schmidt.

"While we're disappointed that he will be finishing post the Guinness Series this November we have certainly profited from his friendship and the many hours he has committed to fulfilling his role so effectively

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