Thu 17 Jul 2014 | 10:28
Easterby chases Irish dream
Thu 17 Jul 2014 | 10:28
Easterby chases Irish dreamSHARE
The Scarlets have agreed to release their Head Coach Simon Easterby to take up a role with Ireland's international coaching set-up.
The move will allow Easterby to pursue one of his biggest career ambitions – to coach the international side and country that he won 65 caps for between 2000 and 2008.
Described by Easterby as an 'emotional decision', he said he was grateful to the Region for supporting him in the move and will stay on throughout the pre-season and start of Scarlets season before moving to Ireland, to ensure a smooth hand-over.
A dedicated Scarlet, Easterby first joined the West Wales Region in 1999 with a distinguished career for Llanelli and Scarlets which saw him captain his side for five consecutive seasons making 196 appearances and scoring 19 tries and playing more than 50 European games in the Scarlets jersey.
Easterby said: "I am very grateful to the Scarlets Board for allowing this to happen and for respecting and supporting my ambition and development as a coach at international level.
"It's a huge opportunity for me in Ireland and one I am very excited about, but it's been a very emotional decision to leave the Region that has been such a major part of my rugby career.
"What makes it easier is the knowledge that we have a strong coaching structure in place and a very balanced playing squad that has not changed dramatically over the summer.
"We've worked hard to make good quality signings that will further strengthen our squad and I believe Scarlets Rugby will go forward very positively next season."
Chief Executive of the Scarlets Region Mark Davies said that Simon Easterby's progression to an international coaching role was always on the cards.
Mark Davies said: "It is a compliment to Simon's fast development and success within his coaching role at Parc y Scarlets over the past two years that he has been offered this opportunity.
"We were aware that both Joe Schmidt and the IRFU had identified Simon some time ago and as a result of his and the Scarlets progress over the last two seasons, this chance has come his way.
"What was also important to Simon and the Scarlets was to ensure that we have everything in place for next season.
"It's been vital to retain Simon throughout our pre-season and into the first phase of our competitions so that we have an effective hand-over and ensure the game structures the coaching group have worked through in the off-season, along with our strengthened squad, gel well together.
"As Scarlets we thank Simon for his huge contribution as a player and most recently as our coach for all that he has done to represent this Region at the highest level.
"He has worked with huge integrity, dedication and passion and wish him all the best in his international coaching career.