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Connacht appoint 'extremely impressive' South African Senekal as forwards coach

The 40-year-old has most recently worked with Stade Francais after taking over from Paul O’Connell.

CONNACHT RUGBY HAVE appointed their new forwards coach, with South African Dewald Senekal joining the province from the beginning of the 2021/22 season.

Senekal comes to The Sportsground with extensive coaching experience, most recently serving as forwards coach for Stade Francais in the Top 14 after succeeding Ireland and Munster legend Paul O’Connell in the role.

From 2017 to 2019, Senekal was joint head coach of Grenoble, leading them to promotion from Pro D2 to the Top 14 in his first season.

The 40-year-old began his coaching career in 2015 as forwards coach of Bayonne, where he brought the curtain down on a colourful playing career. Senekal also lined out for French sides Toulon and Agen through his playing days, along with the Cheetahs and Lions on home soil.

His next chapter comes in the West of Ireland, where he joins Andy Friend’s new-look coaching team, filling the vacancy left by Jimmy Duffy.

“Following an extensive recruitment process, we are delighted to announce Dewald’s appointment to the Connacht coaching team,” Friend said today.

“He is an extremely impressive individual who will add a lot to the setup, as well as providing a fresh pair of eyes and new ideas. I know the players will really enjoy working with him and the coaches likewise.

rodney-ah-you-tackled-by-dewald-senekal Senekal tackling Connacht’s Rodney Ah You when Bayonne visited in 2014. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“Our coaching team is now complete with Dewald joining Pete, Mossy, Cullie and myself for the next two years, and we feel very optimistic about what we can achieve both as a group and in the club.”

Senekal added: “I am thrilled to be joining the Connacht Rugby coaching team. I played against Connacht at The Sportsground during my time at Bayonne and was instantly struck by their loyal, passionate fanbase and, since then, the club’s infectious ambition and drive to succeed.

“There’s a group of talented young players there which is a testament to the work done at all levels the last few years, and it’s my job now to help them continue their development.

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“I’m very grateful to Andy and the team for giving me this opportunity, and I’m counting down the days before I make the move to the West of Ireland and begin preparations for next season.”

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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