Mike Catt: Former England international agrees to join Ireland as assistant coach

Mike Catt and Conor O'Shea
Catt is currently part of Italy boss Conor O'Shea's coaching staff

Mike Catt has agreed to join Ireland as an assistant coach after this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The former England coach will leave his current role in the Italy set-up having agreed a four-year deal with Ireland.

The move will see Catt, 47, link up once again with former England coaching colleague Andy Farrell, who will take over from Joe Schmidt as Ireland head coach after this autumn's World Cup.

John Fogarty is leaving Leinster to become Ireland's scrum coach.

Simon Easterby will continue in his role as forwards specialist, with Richie Murphy staying on as kicking and skills coach.

Catt has formed part of Conor O'Shea's Italy staff, with the Azzurri working through a laborious task of building infrastructure for future success.

"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," said Catt.

"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."

As a player, Catt helped England win the 2003 World Cup, winning 76 caps between 1994 and 2007, while he also won one Lions cap on the victorious South Africa tour in 1997.

Outgoing Ireland boss Schmidt will hope to steer Ireland past the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in Japan, before returning to his native New Zealand.

Former schoolteacher Schmidt has said he will take a break to spend time with family following the World Cup.

Catt's impending arrival will mean all of England's World Cup 2015 coaches will be working in Ireland, with Stuart Lancaster excelling at Leinster and Graham Rowntree joining Munster.

England became the first hosts in World Cup history not to progress past the group stages in 2015, a record that cost Lancaster and his coaching staff their jobs.

Since then Farrell has forged a pivotal part of Schmidt's Ireland set-up as the national side swept to the 2018 Six Nations Grand Slam, before claiming a first win over New Zealand on home soil last November.

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