Bristol have confirmed today that John Muldoon will join the club next season as their new defence coach.
It was reported back in January that Muldoon would be involved in some capacity with the recently-promoted club but the specific role was uncertain.
The Connacht captain will retire at the end of the season as he finishes up his playing days with his beloved province before swapping Galway for the south-west of England.
Pat Lam said: “I’m excited by the coaching team put together to lead Bristol in our first season back in the Premiership.
“John’s arrival as defence coach reinforces the club vision and culture that we are striving to instil in our players and staff. We’re so aligned in our philosophies and it’s a relationship built on mutual trust and understanding of the way the coaching team want Bristol to play.
“John has played more games than anyone else in the PRO14 and he has an intelligent rugby brain. When we coached together in the Galway community and worked closely together on gameplan and leadership strategy whilst at Connacht, I could see he had the makings of an excellent coach.
“When I was still playing, my mentor – Ian McGeechan – gave me my first coaching opportunity in the professional game and I want John to have the same opportunity to begin his coaching career. He has the character traits and qualities that match everything we are looking for.
“There has been a key focus on aligning our Academy and first team coaching structures. Our vision sets out to achieve Champions Cup rugby, players playing for England and Bristolians coming through – for us to achieve this, we need to instil a culture and system that starts at grassroots, all the way through to the senior squad.
“That’s why Sean [Marsden] and Mark [Irish], two young Bristolian coaches, are important men in our coaching team as they drive the progress of our young homegrown players.
“The coaching team we have here is young and ambitious. Conor McPhillips, Jonathan Thomas and Bruce Reihana all have vast rugby experience, share an understanding around the fundamentals of the game, and the players can relate to them and their messages.
“The most important element of our rugby programme: it must ensure that anybody joining or coming through must become a better person and a better player to give Bristol the strongest chance of achieving our vision.”
Muldoon said: “I’m delighted to be linking up with Pat [Lam] and the team at Bristol Rugby at a hugely exciting time for the club.
“I’m inspired by the vision that the club has and the philosophy around community is something that is very important to me.
“I’m honoured to have represented Connacht as a player throughout my career and now I’m relishing the chance to begin my coaching career and help contribute to Bristol’s success in the Premiership.”