Leinster Academy manager Noel McNamara is to leave the province for a senior coaching role with a South African franchise in the new United Rugby Championship.
McNamara was head coach of the Ireland U20s from 2018 to 2020, winning a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2019. He was appointed academy manager at Leinster in the same year.
McNamara says the move is another important step in his development as a coach: "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.
"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."
McNamara began his coaching career at Glenstal Abbey in Limerick before an eight year tenure at Clongowes Wood in Kildare.
He joined the IRFU’s elite player pathway team in 2016 as a development officer at Leinster. He has coached both the Ireland and Leinster schools representative teams as well as Leinster U19s, U20s and Leinster A.
David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented: "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."
The IRFU will commence the process of hiring an Academy Manager for Leinster Rugby in the coming weeks.