Connacht and the IRFU have confirmed the appointment of Andy Friend as their new head coach.
The Australian has replaced Kieran Keane at the Sportsground on a three-year deal, and will take over in June, in time for the beginning of the 2018/19 domestic campaign.
Speaking to the province’s website, Friend expressed his excitement at his new role in the Pro14:
“I am extremely excited and honoured to be appointed as Head Coach of Connacht Rugby. Connacht is a proud province with huge potential to build on the success of recent seasons. I look forward to meeting the players, staff, supporters and wider community when I arrive in the Sportsground ahead of the new season.”
The 49-year-old arrives at the club with a wealth of experience under his belt. He managed Harlequins for three years before moving on to Brumbies in Super Rugby, and then to Japanese sides Canon Eagles and Suntory Sungoliath.
Most recently, he was head coach of the Australia Sevens side.
Connacht are looking to rebuild after a disappointing season both domestically and in Europe. The 2016 Pro12 champions finished sixth out of seven sides in Conference A this season, missing out on European qualification, while their Challenge Cup campaign ended in a quarter-final defeat to Gloucester.