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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 December, 2004, 12:31 GMT
O'Shea to head up RFU Academies
London Irish managing director Conor O'Shea
O'Shea has vast experience as a player and administrator
London Irish managing director Conor O'Shea is to leave the Exiles to take up a post as the Rugby Football Union's Director of Regional Academies.

O'Shea will start his new role in the spring, monitoring players capable of developing into England internationals.

"I look on this move to Twickenham as a huge challenge and one I simply could not turn down," O'Shea said.

"I can see so much potential for moving the academy network onto another level and that excites me enormously."

O'Shea, who won 35 caps for Ireland at full-back, was forced to retire as player in 2001 after a series of ankle operations.

He then became the Exiles' director of rugby before taking up the managing director role in 2003.

O'Shea will manage the network of 14 England regional rugby academies, working closely with David Shaw, who has been instrumental in establishing the system, and Brian Ashton, who runs the National Academy in Bath.

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