Andy Friend revealed as new Connacht head coach

Andy Friend
Andy Friend has agreed a three-year contract to be Connacht head coach

Andy Friend will be Connacht's new head coach after signing a three-year deal.

The Australian, 49, is to succeed Kieran Keane as the Irish province's new boss and will arrive at the Sportsground in late June to oversee pre-season training.

Friend, who has most recently been the Australian Sevens head coach, had three years in charge of Premiership side Harlequins from 2005.

He also coached the Brumbies in his homeland from 2008 to 2011.

Friend worked within the Australian Institute of Sport rugby programme in 1995 and then went on to hold assistant coaching positions at the New South Wales Waratahs and the Brumbies, where he worked as skills coach under Eddie Jones.

After his time in charge of Harlequins and the Brumbies, he worked as a head coach in Japanese club rugby for four seasons.

On the international stage, he worked as part of Jones' Wallabies coaching team for the Tri Nations Series in 2002 and the 2003 Rugby World Cup. He guided the Australian Under-21 team to the final of the World Championships in 2005.

Connacht chief executive Willie Ruane said: "Andy has a wealth of experience at international and club level and shares our ambition for Connacht Rugby over the coming seasons."

Friend added: "I am extremely excited and honoured to be appointed as head coach of Connacht Rugby. Connacht is a proud province with huge potential to build on the success of recent seasons."

New-Zealand born Keane parted company with the Galway-based side at the end of the season, just one year into his three-year term.

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

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