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Nigel Carolan and Jimmy Duffy join Connacht coaching set-up

Nigel Carolan and Jimmy Duffy will join Kieran Keane's new-look Connacht coaching set-up next season.

Former Connacht back Carolan has overseen the Galway province's academy since 2004, also leading Ireland's Under-20s since 2015.

Duffy has been forwards coach at Connacht since 2015 and will now remain on the backroom staff when current boss Pat Lam heads to Bristol in the summer.

Peter Malone will now replace Carolan as interim head coach of Ireland's Under-20s for the World Rugby Under-20 Championships in Georgia in June.

"We are delighted that both Nigel and Jimmy will be part of the new-look coaching team under Kieran Keane," said Connacht chief executive Willie Ruane.

"The fact that both are local coaches who have come through the Connacht system is a massive positive for the club and further illustrates our vision of grassroots to green shirts.

"Jimmy is well established within the backroom team after two seasons as forwards coach and Nigel brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the game from his time as Connacht academy manager and Ireland Under-20s head coach.

"We are currently in the process of finalising the full make-up of the backroom team and we hope to have further news in the coming weeks."

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) confirmed Munster's elite player development manager Malone would temporarily fill Carolan's shoes for the Under-20s' summer tournament.

Carolan believes he can now seize the right moment to step up to frontline coaching.

"To coach at the top level in Connacht is a huge honour and I'm delighted to get this opportunity," said Carolan.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my 13 years working with the Academy and I am really proud of what we have achieved here.

"For me personally, I think the time is right to move on to a new challenge and I'm really looking forward to working with Kieran and with Jimmy once again."

Duffy formed an integral part of the Connacht coaching staff during last season's march to the Guinness PRO12 title.

"I'm delighted to be extending my time as coach with Connacht Rugby," said Duffy.

"The last two seasons have been hugely rewarding and I'm looking forward to working with Kieran and his new coaching team next season.

"For now, I'm fully focused on finishing this current season as strong as possible."

PA Media