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Huge contribution: Willie Anderson reached top as player and coach

Huge contribution: Willie Anderson reached top as player and coach

�INPHO/Presseye/John McIlwaine

Huge contribution: Willie Anderson reached top as player and coach

Ulster Rugby CEO Jonny Petrie has said the legacy of Willie Anderson will continue to be felt at Kingspan Stadium for years to come after the legendary lock announced his retirement from coaching yesterday.

A key figure in Ulster's historic teams of the 1980s, he played for Ireland at the inaugural World Cup of 1987 and captained the side when the All Blacks came to Lansdowne Road two years later, memorably striding towards and staring down the visitors' pre-match haka.

After a coaching career that saw him work with both Leinster and the Scottish national team, he made great strides in the underage game here, taking Sullivan Upper to the Schools' Cup final in 2014 before spending the last four years working with Ulster's forwards in their Academy set-up alongside Kieran Campbell.

"It is without doubt that Willie's legacy and influence will be felt for many years to come at Ulster Rugby," said former Scotland international Petrie.

"He has made an immeasurable contribution to rugby over the years as both a player and as a coach - and I can say this as someone who benefited first-hand from his exceptional coaching skills.

"It is certain that Willie will remain in close contact with us as a club, and we look forward to seeing the seeds of talent which he has planted come to fruition in the years ahead.

"On behalf of all of Ulster Rugby, we wish Willie a happy and healthy retirement, and say thank you to him for his outstanding contribution to Ulster and the game of rugby."

Belfast Telegraph