Head Coach & Director of Rugby
Growing up in Dungannon, Ireland, Clarke was first introduced to the game at the age of eleven at Royal School Dungannon. He gained his first International honors for Ireland U18s, and then represented Ireland U21s two years later. Clarke played for Northampton Saints in England and Ulster, his home province. During this time, he earned his first senior International cap in 1995.
In 2001 Clarke transitioned to coaching and was named Director of Elite Player Development for Ulster, establishing Ulster’s first academy program. Clarke was then named Senior Assistant Coach in 2004 and guided Ulster to a first Celtic League title in 2006. In 2007, Clarke was appointed High Performance Manager for the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) overseeing a talent pathway which would develop players for the professional game and International XV.
Following a successful five years with the IRFU, Clarke returned to his native province as Director of Elite Player Development. There he further expanded the scale and success of the province’s age grade programs before being appointed Assistant Coach in 2014. Clarke was then named Ospreys Forwards Coach in 2017 with a subsequent promotion to Head Coach. He led the Ospreys to a number one ranking in Wales and a qualification for the Heineken Champions Cup.
At an international level, Clarke has been Head Coach for Ireland U20s, Ireland A and Emerging Ireland; leading the Emerging Ireland team to victory in the 2015 Tbilisi Cup.