Niamh Briggs Named As Ireland U20s Women’s Head Coach
29th January 2024 By The Editor
The IRFU have confirmed that Niamh Briggs has been appointed as Head Coach for the Irish U20s women’s squad.
Former Ireland captain Briggs will lead the U20s side, as they prepare for their summer series taking place this July.
Having won 62 caps for Ireland and been an integral part of two Six Nations title-winning sides, including one as captain, and a season as assistant backs coach with the senior Irish women’s side, Briggs brings a wealth of experience and rugby intellect to the position.
Briggs also has considerable coaching experience with Munster having led the senior women’s squad to an Interprovincial title and final appearance in the last two seasons.
As part of her coaching team, Briggs will also be joined by assistant coaches JP Walsh and Murray Houston. JP is the current Coach Development Officer with Connacht Rugby, while Murray is the Girls and Women’s Pathway Lead in Ulster Rugby.
Commenting on her new role, the former Ireland full-back and out-half said:
“I am delighted to take on the role of head coach with the U20 side. I have gained valuable coaching experience from working with the Irish women’s side last season and through my role as the National Women’s Talent Coach for Munster.”
“I am excited to get started, to work with JP and Murray and the rest of the management team, and to work with the players as we build towards their series taking place this summer.”
“It’s going to be a busy and exciting couple of months, and it’s a fantastic opportunity for these young women as they achieve their dream of playing in green.”
Elsewhere, the IRFU have also confirmed the appointment of Declan Danaher as the defence coach with the Ireland senior women’s squad. He will join the Ireland coaching group in February, ahead of this year’s six nations campaign.
A former professional rugby union player at London Irish, making 275 appearances and also captaining the side. Danaher has represented Ireland at U19 level, through the Irish Exiles, he has also represented England at U21 level and England A.
He was London-Irish longest serving player in the professional era and upon his retirement from the game embarked on his coaching career.
Starting out coaching in the academy he worked in the pathway developing academy players for the senior team, before he worked his way up to defence coach and then held the role of assistant coach under Declan Kidney during his time at London Irish.
The combination of his long service to London Irish and strong Irish background, as his mother comes from Limerick and his father from Kerry, Declan is excited to get working with the Irish side.
Speaking on the appointment, Declan commented: “I am proud to join the IRFU as the defence coach with the women’s side for the six nations. I am very proud of my Irish heritage and excited to get working with this squad.”
“I’ve seen how the system has been developing over the years and it’s an exciting time for the game in Ireland and I’m really looking forward to being a part of that. I look forward to working with the players and coaches as we continue to build towards this year’s six nations.”
Greg Hollins will also join the women’s XV squad for the six nations campaign, as Athletic Performance Coach, working alongside Ed Slattery Head of Athletic Performance.