Paul O'Connell will make his coaching debut with Munster next week

The former Ireland international joined the Munster academy as an adviser earlier this year

BY Adrian Collins 09:46 Friday 23 December 2016, 9:46 23 Dec 2016

Image: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Former Ireland international Paul O'Connell is set to take his first steps into coaching next week with the province where he made his name. 

O'Connell will be in charge of a Munster Development XV squad as they take on an Ireland U20s side at Thomond Park on Thursday, and O'Connell will be assisting with the preparations for the team. 

According to the Independent, O'Connell will be alongside Elite Player Development Officer Greig Oliver during the game and in the build-up as Assistant Coach, as he makes his first contribution to the coaching side of things at Munster.

After retiring from playing in February of this year, O'Connell rejoined the province as an adviser to the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy.

Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

The Development XV will feature players both from the senor squad and the academy, as well as some from the Munster U20s panel. 

Speaking about the game, Oliver told Munster's website that the fixture could be a huge one for the young players involved particularly. 

"It's such an important squad to be selected for as the games against Munster and Leinster development sides will determine selection for the 2017 Six Nations," said Oliver. "All those in the mix for Irish selection will either represent Ireland or their province over the two games.

"It presents them with a massive opportunity and they need to grasp it to be in the running for the Six Nations squad which will be announced in January."

The game, which takes place on Thursday, December 29th at 1pm, is free entry.

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