Sharks assistant coach and former Ireland U20 head coach Noel McNamara has opened up on adapting to the Durban heat and humidity and how he went from maths teacher to rugby coach.
McNamara, who was head coach of the Ireland U20s from 2018 to 2020, joined the Sharks last year as part of the overhaul under head coach Sean Everitt.
The former Leinster academy manager is in charge of the Sharks attack and backs for the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.
In an interview with the Irish Examiner, McNamara spoke about how he has acclimatised to the typical high humidity experienced in Durban during the start of the year.
“I feel like I’ve just come out of an oven,” McNamara told the Irish Examiner, following a Sharks training session.
“In the past, a lot of teams have struggled when they come to Durban, particularly with the humidity and the impact that can have on your handling and ability to play with ball in hand. As coaches and players, you have to be adaptable and realise there is more than one way to play.”
McNamara explained how he got into coaching, which started with his first job out of university as a PE and maths teacher.
“I am very much an accidental rugby coach,” he said. “Soccer was my first love growing up, but a confluence of events saw me eventually get my first job out of university working at Clongowes Wood College as a PE and Maths teacher, and one of the roles was coaching the U13 rugby team. Things progressed from there, believe it or not, and I’m really grateful for the opportunities I had with the Ireland U20s, at the Leinster Academy and even when I took up a three three-month placement with North Harbour in New Zealand.
“But it kind of got to the stage where I wanted to coach a senior team full-time. My major motivation was to get back to day-to-day coaching, and so when the Sharks offer came along, it just felt like the right job opportunity at the right time. I’ve been made to feel at home at the Sharks, where there are so many incredible players, coaches and lots of great people.”
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