Connacht Rugby Squad Headshots 26/7/2017 Ambrose Conboy - Elite Player Development Officer Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Gary Carr

(Photo – Connacht Rugby)

Munster and Ireland rugby legend Paul O’Connell has taken up his first coaching role after joining the Ireland under 20s backroom team ahead of the Six Nations which begins in Brive on February 2nd against France.

O’Connell’s appointment under Head Coach Noel McNamara means he will join former women’s boss Tom Tierney and Salthill’s Ambrose Conboy who is the scrum and forwards coach.

Conboy has been Connacht Player Development Officer since 2015 and brings a wealth of experience to his new role having coached the Connacht under 18s and led the province’s juniors to interprovincial success in 2012.

The former Rugby Master and teacher in St. Joseph’s College “The Bish” Secondary School in Galway also captained Galwegians RFC from 2003 to 2006 and oversaw Our Ladies Boys Club RFC for four years including qualification for the All-Ireland qualifiers.

His appointment was confirmed in September and he has worked on the IRFU Elite Scrum Programme while he has also observed coaches in New Zealand including World Cup winner Graham Henry.

Conboy will be one of three assistant coaches under McNamara along with Tierney and O’Connell.  Since retiring after the 2015 Rugby World Cup, O’Connell has worked in an advisory role with the Munster Academy and has been an ambassador for the Aldi Play Rugby Programme.

Ireland will warm up for their spring schedule with two encounters against provincial opposition.  The under 20s take on Leinster’s development team on Thursday (December 21st, Donnybrook 12pm) before facing Munster in Thomand Park eight days later (1pm).

They also have the World Cup starting May 30th to prepare for where they’ll compete in Pool C against hosts France, South Africa and Georgia.  And Conby can expect to work with familiar players from Connacht including Corey Reid and last year’s Ireland under 19 captain Sean Masterson.