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Connacht appoint ex-Quins coach Andy Friend on three-year contract

The 49-year-old former Australia Sevens coach will arrive in the western province next month to oversee pre-season training.

Image: AAP/PA Images

CONNACHT HAVE TODAY confirmed that Australian Andy Friend will take over as head coach on a three-year deal ahead of the 2018/19 season.

The 49-year-old will replace Kieran Keane after the Kiwi’s difficult single season in Galway.

Friend worked as head coach of Harlequins, under director of rugby Dean Richards, from 2005 to 2008 before returning to Australia to replace Laurie Fisher as head coach of the Brumbies.

His most recent role was as head coach of the Australia men’s Sevens team.

“Andy has a wealth of experience at international and club level,” says Connacht CEO Willie Ruane, “and shares our ambition for Connacht Rugby over the coming seasons.”

Ruane adds that Friend will arrive in Galway late next month to oversee the province’s pre-season training, a bonus provinces are not always able to avail of when appointing southern hemisphere coaches.

In the statement, Friend mentioned his eagerness to engage with the ‘wider community’ of Connacht rugby, something his predecessor was reportedly lacking in.

Andy Friend Friend as Brumbies coach in 2010. Source: Photosport/Daniel Carson/INPHO

“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,” said Friend.

IRFU performance director David Nucifora, a fellow former Brumbies coach, says Friend “has experience in driving and developing organisation structures and has spent time working at the top end of the international game.”

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