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Nigel Brady handed task of reviving ailing Dungannon

By Michael Sadlier

Dungannon have officially announced that former Ulster player and club stalwart Nigel Brady will head up the Stevenson Park side's new coaching team for next season.

Brady, who has been forced to retire from playing after a year with French side Aurillac – who are coached by former Gannon great Jeremy Davidson – will return to his home club over the summer as they seek to regain their place in the AIL's Division 1B after a dreadful season which culminated in last month's relegation into 2A.

The 34-year-old hooker, who also played for Ireland A, has a strong association with the club, for whom he made his debut in 1998 after leaving Dungannon Royal School, and was part of the AIL title winning side of 2001 which was coached by another club notable Willie Anderson.

Brady's primary responsibility will be coaching Gannon's forwards and he will be assisted by former Ulster Schools player David Irwin, who comes on board from junior club Lisburn.

Outgoing head coach Paddy Johns will be staying on as part of the mix as will Mark Henderson, who takes on the role of coaching co-ordinator which will include the recruitment and development of young players as Gannon seek to rebuild their fortunes. As yet, though, Gannon are still seeking to recruit a backs coach and this role could yet be filled from within the club.

Former Ulster and Ireland player Johns welcomed the announcement: "Nigel will be an enthusiastic young coach who will bring fresh ideas and a new momentum to the club and he continues the long tradition of former Dungannon players who have taken on the role of coach of their home club."

Meanwhile, Ulster's Roger Wilson has been granted an end of season boost after being named in a World XV squad to face South Africa in an exhibition match due to be played in Cape Town on June 7.

The 32-year-old back row forward is the sole Irish player named in the star-studded squad which is being managed by former South Africa and Italy coach Nick Mallet and current Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons, who oversaw Wilson's emergence during his time in charge at Ravenhill.

Wilson, who won a solitary Ireland cap on a tour to Japan back in 2005, will be linking up with Munster and former Ulster player BJ Botha to take on the Springboks at Newlands as part of a 23-man party full of notables including James O'Connor, Hosea Gear, Matt Giteau, Steffon Armitage, Schalk Brits and Francois Trinh-Duc.

Belfast Telegraph

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