Friday 22 September 2017

Connacht aiming to join Euro elite

CONNACHT'S new chief executive believes the province can develop into one of Europe's top sides over the next few seasons.

It was confirmed yesterday that Tom Sears is taking over from Gerry Kelly, who is retiring from the position he has held since 1999, and 43-year-old former CEO of Cricket Kenya claims Connacht, who will play in the Heineken Cup for the second successive year next season, can join the elite of European rugby.

"There is enormous potential to build on the work already done," said Sears. "There is no reason why Connacht can't develop into one of Europe's leading sides and that will be our collective goal."

Lancaster's backs coach hunt continues

ENGLAND head coach Stuart Lancaster remains upbeat despite a second setback in his bid to recruit a backs coach.

Lancaster yesterday confirmed that former New Zealand assistant coach Wayne Smith had rejected the opportunity to join his back-room staff in the build-up to the 2015 World Cup for family reasons.

Smith's decision to remain in New Zealand with the Waikato Chiefs comes after Andy Farrell also turned down a permanent position to stay with Saracens.

"It is clearly disappointing," said Lancaster. "The experience he would have brought would have been greatly beneficial. I do think we are on the right track."

Mike Catt will leave London Irish to take up a short-term coaching position for the summer tour to South Africa.

Lynagh released from hospital

AUSTRALIA legend Michael Lynagh was released from hospital yesterday following a stroke. The 48-year-old World Cup winner was rushed to hospital in Brisbane a fortnight ago, and was placed on the 'critical' list.

Edinburgh's Paterson to hang up boots

Chris Paterson is set to end his playing career when Edinburgh host Treviso in their final match of a momentous season this weekend. The 34-year-old full-back won 109 caps and scored 809 Test points -- both Scottish records.

Four clubs given €5,000 boost

NEWBRIDGE, Ballyhaunis, Killarney and Donaghdee rugby clubs have been selected to receive special funding under the Ulster Bank RugbyForce initiative. The four clubs will get a support package worth €5,000 to upgrade facilities.

Irish Independent

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