Mike Catt to take over as Ireland assistant coach after Rugby World Cup

Milan (AFP) –


Italy backs coach Mike Catt will join Ireland as an assistant coach after this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan, the Italian and Irish rugby federations announced on Sunday.

The 47-year-old former England backs coach, who has worked with the Azzurri since March 2016, has agreed a four-year deal with Ireland which will take him up until the 2023 World Cup.

Catt will link up again with former England coaching colleague Andy Farrell, who will take over from Joe Schmidt as Ireland head coach after this year's World Cup.

"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," said Catt.

"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."

Italy earned their fourth consecutive wooden spoon in this year's Six Nations.

South African-born Catt helped England win the 2003 World Cup, earning 76 caps between 1994 and 2007, and also won one Lions cap on the victorious South Africa tour in 1997.

"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," said IRFU performance director David Nucifora.