CONNACHT have announced that incoming coach Pat Lam will be in situ earlier than anticipated.
Lam was not expected to take up his possession as Eric Elwood's successor until June 1, but he will now join the province in April and work alongside Elwood for the remainder of the season.
The newly appointed 44-year-old will arrive in time to be involved with Connacht's final three games of the campaign before he assumes full control on June 1.
This is a hugely positive move for both Lam and Connacht as it affords the former Auckland Blues coach the opportunity to familiarise himself with the workings of the province and the IRFU, and to get to know the players he will inherit.
"I'm delighted to be able to get to Connacht early, spend some time with Eric, the coaching staff and the players before the season finishes and start looking ahead to next season," said Lam.
Connacht CEO Tom Sears has revealed that Lam is already well along the path of identifying players he wants recruited for next season, adding that they are "making good progress on that front".
"His early arrival will ensure that there is an opportunity for him to work alongside Eric and facilitate an effective handover and transition," Sears said.