Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
James Crombie/INPHO Connacht boss Andy Friend.
# Farewell
Connacht confirm Andy Friend will leave at the end of the season
The popular Australian will depart after five seasons in charge.

CONNACHT HAVE CONFIRMED that director of rugby Andy Friend will leave the province at the end of the current season.

The Australian arrived as head coach in 2018 and has proven to be a popular leader for the westerners.

He moved into the director of rugby role ahead of this season but will head for the exit next summer after five years in charge.

Connacht say they will now begin the process of finding a replacement for Friend.

“My wife Kerri and I have made the decision that our time at Connacht Rugby will finish at the end of this season,” said Friend.

“This was always on the cards when I signed my two-year extension in 2021, and one that I discussed openly with Willie [Ruane, CEO] and Connacht Rugby.

“It’s certainly not an easy decision to make as we have both genuinely loved everything about our time here in the West of Ireland. From the minute we arrived, we were welcomed with open arms and made to feel very much a part of the community and the rich history of the Club.

I am very proud of what we’ve been able to achieve both on and off the field as a Team since our arrival, and am driven to do everything in my power to ensure this season is the best one yet.”

Connacht CEO Willie Ruane paid tribute to Friend’s work with the province.

“We’ve been fully aware from when Andy signed his last contract extension with us, that this would be his last, and that he would be moving on at the end of this season,” said Ruane.

“While we are sad to see him go and he will be sorely missed across the organisation, we are very thankful for all he has done for the province in the past five seasons, both on and off the field.

“In that time, he has led us to many successful days, buying into the Connacht ethos and brand of rugby while overseeing significant changes to our Professional player & coaching profiles.

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“He also embraced life in the West of Ireland, engaging fully with our grassroots clubs around the province and all levels of our Player Pathway Programme. That is evident in the number of players that Andy has promoted from our Academy to make their Connacht debuts in recent years.

“I’d like to wish Andy, his wife Kerri and the rest of their family every health and happiness for the future.”

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