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Connacht coaching ticket extend contracts to remain at Sportsground until 2021

Andy Friend hailed the ‘exceptional team’ of Carolan, Duffy and Wilkins as Connacht return to top form.

Andy Friend with Peter Wilkins and Jimmy Duffy last month.
Andy Friend with Peter Wilkins and Jimmy Duffy last month.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

CONNACHT TODAY CONFIRMED that Andy Friend’s backroom team have signed two-year extensions to their existing deals and will remain at the Sportsground until 2021.

Friend, who arrived on a three-year deal ahead of this season, has overseen an impressive resurgence in the western province.

The Australian has continually attributed much of that success to his coaching team and the reward has come for attack coach Nigel Carolan, forwards coach Jimmy Duffy and defence coach Peter Wilkins.

Duffy, who has been in charge of the Connacht pack since 2015, said: 

“We have made progress this season on all aspects of our game and are continuing to improve. There is even more potential in the squad and I believe that we can maximise that potential in the coming seasons.”

Highly-rated attack coach Carolan, who was previously in charge of Connacht’s academy and Ireland U20s, added: 

“We have a very clear focus on where we are going as a team and a province, and we are determined to deliver further success in the seasons ahead. We pride ourselves on our attacking style and I am excited about the contribution I can make to that in the coming years.”

Nigel Carolan Carolan at training early this month. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Head coach Friend, whose charges sit just five points behind Glasgow Warriors in Pro14 Conference A,  said that securing his backroom team on fresh deals had been a priority.

“They are an exceptional team and one of the best collective groups I have worked with in my coaching career.

“Obviously a major priority for us has been to retain the services of these guys into the future and I am delighted that we are now in a position to announce this great news. We can now continue to focus on producing an exciting, attacking and ultimately winning brand of rugby for the seasons ahead.”

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Sean Farrell

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