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Catt to bolster the Ireland cause

Catt to bolster the Ireland cause
  • Mike Catt to become Ireland's assistant coach
  • Former England player will leave current role as Italy attack coach
  • Catt won Rugby's Greatest Championship four times

Ireland will be able to count on even more Championship-winning experience for their tilt at Guinness Six Nations glory next year, with Mike Catt adding his nous to Andy Farrell’s new-look coaching team.

Catt won Rugby’s Greatest Championship four times as an England player and is currently Italy’s attack coach – but will become Ireland’s assistant coach at the conclusion of the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

Grand Slam winners in 2018, Ireland will be led by Farrell, who succeeds Joe Schmidt as head coach later this year, when the 2020 Guinness Six Nations roars into view and Catt will also be at the forefront of their charge.

“I am looking forward to the Rugby World Cup in Japan and seeing the group of players we have here in Italy fulfil their potential and achieve the objectives we have set for ourselves,” said Catt.

“Obviously, it is an honour to be given this future opportunity with Ireland but I will focus on that challenge only after I have given my all for Italy and this group of players.”

Catt, who has penned a contract with Ireland that runs until after the 2023 World Cup, won Rugby’s Greatest Championship with England in 1995, 1996, 2000 and 2001.

The 47-year-old earned 75 caps for his country and claimed three Premiership Rugby winners’ medals with Bath between 1992 and 1996.

IRFU performance director David Nucifora said: “Mike brings a wealth of experience to the coaching group and has been operating at the highest level of the international game for some time.

“He was a smart and innovative player and he brings those attributes, and much more besides, in his approach to coaching and player development.

“We feel that we have secured a talented practitioner, who will add significant value to the group and to the wider Irish system.”