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Willie Anderson's 'legacy and influence' hailed as Ulster Academy coach set to retire


Ulster Academy and A team coach Willie Anderson

Ulster Academy and A team coach Willie Anderson

Ulster Academy and A team coach Willie Anderson

Former Ulster and Ireland captain Willie Anderson will retire from his coaching role at the Abbey Insurance Ulster Academy at the end of this month.

The 65-year-old has been working as a forwards specialist with the Academy and A sides for the past four years but has decided to call time on his career.

Anderson played 27 times for Ireland between 1984 and 1990 and enjoyed similar success once he hung up his boots. He would go on to become head coach at London Irish as well as Matt Williams' assistant coach at both Leinster and Scotland.

He would become a PE teacher and coach at Grosvenor Grammar and Sullivan Upper and also work with Rainey Old Boys RFC and Dungannon RFC before taking up his role at Ulster.

“As a native Ulster man, I have always been intensely passionate about my province’s rugby," he said. "It has been an honour to be able to give something back to rugby in Ulster during my final years of coaching.”

He has certainly done that, becoming a key cog in Ulster's Academy, helping to bring through talents such as Eric O’Sullivan, Adam McBurney, Tom O’Toole, Ross Kane, Nick Timoney and Matty Rea as well as the current Academy crop David McCann, Azur Allison, Callum Reid and Tom Stewart.

“It is without doubt that Willie’s legacy and influence will be felt for many years to come at Ulster Rugby," said CEO Jonny 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