Schmidt adds Easterby as new Irish forwards coach
SIMON EASTERBY has made what he called an "emotional decision" to leave Scarlets and succeed John Plumtree as Ireland's forwards coach.
"It's an exciting time to be involved in Irish rugby and I am looking forward to helping the team continue to be as competitive as possible," he said.
For Ireland, the 38-year-old won 65 caps between 2000 and 2008, represented the British & Irish Lions in 2005 and was once noted by coach Eddie O'Sullivan as a man with a unique threshold for withstanding pain.
"Simon has tremendous test match experience combined with an in-depth knowledge of the current National Squad players," stated Ireland coach Joe Schmidt.
"He is well known to Irish rugby supporters and to many of the players and his knowledge and experience will help drive the team forward".
Easterby will follow in the footsteps of the impressive Plumtree without the long and lavish curriculum vitae of the New Zealander brought, especially from the Natal Sharks.
The brother of Leinster manager Guy, Simon has been in West Wales for 11 years, seven as a player, making 196 appearances for The Scarlets and captaining the club for five consecutive seasons.
Since then, Easterby has been employed as The Scarlets defence coach (2010-2012) and head coach for the last two seasons where he was hindered by the downward spiral in Welsh rugby.
"I am very grateful to the Scarlets Board for supporting my ambition and development as a coach at international level," added Easterby.
"It's a huge opportunity for me in Ireland and one I am very excited about".
Easterby leaves behind a club in limbo which finished fourth in his first season and sixth in his second.
"It's been a very emotional decision to leave the Region that has been such a major part of my rugby career," added Easterby.