Willie Anderson lands coaching role with Ulster Academy

Willie Anderson won 27 caps for Ireland between 1984 and 1990
Willie Anderson won 27 caps for Ireland between 1984 and 1990

Willie Anderson has been appointed as Ulster Rugby's elite player development officer.

The former Ulster and Ireland captain will operate as a forwards specialist for the Academy and Ulster 'A' team.

Anderson has extensive coaching experience with Leinster, London Irish and the Scottish national team.

"I'm looking forward to hopefully bringing through some top quality young players over the next few years," said Anderson, who starts the role in July.

Anderson, who won 27 caps for Ireland, also has extensive experience within the school and club game in Ulster having coached at Grosvenor Grammar School, Sullivan Upper School, Rainey Old Boys RFC, and Dungannon RFC.

"My role is primarily going to be with the forwards, working with them on what is takes to be a complete professional," Anderson said.

"I've been fortunate enough to have experience working in a similar environment with the Irish Academy that developed players such as Paul O'Connell and Peter Stringer, so hopefully we will be able to unearth our own golden generation in Ulster."

Ulster skipper Rory Best does not hide his disappointment after his side's 30-18 defeat by Leinster in the Pro12 semi-final at the RDS.

Ulster's Director of Rugby Les Kiss has welcomed Anderson's appointment.

"For someone of Willie's experience to come in and work with our young forwards is going to be fantastic for us.

"Willie has been through every level of the game, both as a player and a coach, so his experience will certainly enhance our programme.

"We have a lot of young players that we would like to accelerate through to a higher level of rugby, so when you have someone like Willie who has been there and done it himself, and also coached it, I think that will help us immensely."

Former Ulster tighthead prop Bryan Young has been appointed as the province's talent development officer.

Young, who also earned eight caps for Ireland, has been working with the Academy for the last two years in a consultancy capacity.

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