The Performance Manager Age Grade Rugby is a critical new position identified by the Union for the development process of players in the age groups from school leaving to 21 years.
The role is seen by the IRFU as a key driving force within the sub-professional level and the principal interface between the Rugby Department and the National Age-Grade pathway and structures.
The Performance Manager Age Grade Rugby is required to design, develop and implement plans, process, strategies and systems to ensure Ireland excels at Age Grade levels. i.e., under 18 Youth, under 18 Schools, under 19 Rugby World Cup and under 21, 6 Nations and Rugby World Cup.
In addition, the Performance Manager Age Grade Rugby would also plan for the growth and development of qualified and successful indigenous coaches to focus on the specific needs of National Age Grade rugby teams, in conjunction with the National Coach Development Manager.
Declan Kidney has previously coached the Ireland schools and the Ireland under 19 teams, most notably the team Ireland that won the FIRA World Cup in 1998.
Irish team coach Eddie O Sullivan has no plans at this present time to fill the position of assistant coach, currently held by Declan Kidney.
Philip Browne, Chief Executive, IRFU says: The new position we are offering Declan is a key role in the progression of the IRFU s High Performance Strategy for the future. We see an urgent need for a Performance Manager in age-grade rugby in order to provide leadership, direction and technical expertise in the implementation of a plan which is designed in line with supporting sub-professional pathways and systems that meets the objectives and goals contained with the Union s Strategic Plan.
Declan would, of course, always be considered for any front line coaching role that might become available in Irish rugby and in which he was interested.
Declan Kidney says: While obviously disappointed by my current contract not being renewed, I appreciate the offer of this new position from the Union. However, the offer in question is not a coaching position as such, therefore while considering it, I will now be looking at all options open to me. In the meantime, I will as usual be concentrating on fulfilling my obligations to the best of my ability in the best interest of the team.