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Stephen Rice replaces Ruaidhri...

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Stephen Rice replaces Ruaidhri Higgins as Ireland's opposition analyst


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Stephen Rice has joined Stephen Kenny's Republic of Ireland backroom team. 

The former Shamrock Rovers midfielder replaces Ruaidhrí Higgins as opposition analyst/head scout. Higgins left the role in April to fill the managerial vacancy at Derry City.

Rice recently left the position of U23 Development Coach at English Premier League side, Crystal Palace.

He's no stranger to the Ireland squad, having played a role on the coaching staff for the summer friendlies with Andorra and Hungary.

"It’s a huge honour for me and my family for me to join the Ireland senior men's coaching staff," Rice said.

"The opportunity to work with and learn from Stephen Kenny at international level is a real privilege, and I can’t wait to get started.

31 May 2021; Daryl Horgan, right, Ryan Manning, left, and coach Stephen Rice during a Republic of Ireland training session at PGA Catalunya Resort in Girona, Spain. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

"It’s an exciting time to be joining the team and having already experienced the fantastic atmosphere within the squad on the last camp, I'm really looking forward to the upcoming games."

Rice's formal appointment comes just as the club season resumes across Europe.

Ireland resume their World Cup qualifying campaign on September 1, with a game in Faro against Portugal.

The following week will see both Azerbaijan and Serbia visit the Aviva Stadium.

"Stephen was part of the staff for the matches against Andorra and Hungary, and we're delighted he has taken up a full-time role with the team," Kenny said.

"He has an impressive skillset when it comes to analysing teams and players, and he is an important addition to the coaching staff ahead of September's matches."

Rice joined Crystal Palace in 2020, having previously worked as a Development Officer within the FAI from 2010. He holds both a UEFA Pro Licence and a UEFA Certificate in Football Management.

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Ireland Keith Andrews Qatar 2022 Republic Of Ireland Ruaidhri Higgins Stephen Kenny Stephen Rice World Cup

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