Ireland appoint former captain O'Connell as forwards coach

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FILE PHOTO: France v Ireland - RBS Six Nations Championship 2014

(Reuters) - Former Ireland captain Paul O'Connell has joined Andy Farrell's coaching team as forwards coach, Irish Rugby said on Thursday.

O'Connell, who was capped 108 times and captained Ireland to their 2014 Six Nations triumph, will take up the new role immediately, with Simon Easterby switching his focus to defence.

Since retiring as a player in 2015, the 41-year-old O'Connell has held coaching roles with Munster Academy, Ireland Under-20s and Top 14 side Stade Francais.

He joins Farrell's coaching staff exactly a month before Ireland kick off their 2021 Six Nations campaign against Wales in Cardiff.

"Paul brings a wealth of rugby knowledge with him and as forwards coach he will have responsibility for the forwards including the line-out working alongside John (Fogarty)," Farrell said in a statement https://www.irishrugby.ie/2021/01/07/paul-oconnell-joins-ireland-coaching-group.

"He will also be another strong voice and leader within the group.

"Simon has a real passion for defence and having developed Ireland's forward play over the past six years with the additional responsibility for the defence over the past 12 months, he will now be able to focus his energy and rugby intellect on this area of our game."

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)