Ospreys Rugby have confirmed that Allen Clarke has been appointed Head Coach on a three-year contract.
The former Ireland hooker, who joined the Ospreys last summer as Forwards Coach, has been in interim control of the senior team since January.
Andrew Millward, Managing Director, Ospreys Rugby, confirmed the appointment, saying:
“When we began the search for a new Head Coach we said we were looking for someone who we considered to be ‘world class’. For us, that meant we wanted someone able to get the best out of the assets available to them, someone with experience of creating a culture, an environment, who had the respect of players and his coaching peers alike. We wanted someone with a technical and tactical appreciation of the game, good man management and who felt a true part of the journey.
“Over the last three months we’ve worked closely with the WRU to identify a coach who met the ‘world class’ criteria and have spoken to a number of high quality individuals from all corners of the rugby world, who were interested in being part of the Ospreys and who presented a strong case.
“In Allen, we strongly believe we have that person, already working within the organisation. Vastly experienced, he has a passion for, and proven track record in, developing talent, and he has enjoyed success as both a player and a coach, operating at club and international level..."
As a player, Clarke, a qualified teacher, completed a century of appearances for Northampton Saints before returning to his home province, who he served as both player and coach over a period of 20 years, either side of a five-year spell as Irish Rugby's High Performance Manager.
Capped eight times by Ireland, he was a key player in Ulster’s 1999 Heineken Cup run, including the 21-6 win over Colomiers at Lansdowne Road in the final, the province’s only European title.
Clarke also has experience of coaching on the international scene, taking charge of Ireland ‘A’, U20, and more recently leading Emerging Ireland to success in the 2015 Tbilisi Cup ahead of Georgia, Italy A and Uruguay.