Connacht Rugby: Search begins for successor to Kieran Keane

Keane arrived in Connacht after working as an assistant coach with the Chiefs
Keane arrived in Connacht after working as an assistant coach with the Chiefs

Connacht have begun the search for a new head coach to succeed Kieran Keane, who has left the province with immediate effect.

The New Zealand-born coach has parted company with the Galway-based side just one year into his three-year term.

News of the split emerged earlier this month but Connacht had refused to confirm or deny the split until Friday.

The 2016 Pro12 champions finished sixth in Conference A of the inaugural Pro14 with just seven wins from 21 games.

Keane, 64, succeeded Pat Lam last summer but the side struggled for consistency throughout his debut season before they lost to Gloucester in their Challenge Cup quarter-final.

In a statement, Connacht Rugby chief executive Willie Ruane said he wished Keane well for the future: "After an assessment of the direction in which Connacht Rugby was going we have come to an agreement with Kieran Keane that he will leave the province with immediate effect.

"I would like to thank Kieran Keane for his efforts with Connacht Rugby this season and wish him well for the future."

Assistant coach Nigel Carolan and former Ireland head coach Eddie O'Sullivan are among the candidates who have already been touted as possible successors at the Sportsground.

"In conjunction with the IRFU we will now begin the process of recruiting a new head coach," added Ruane.

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