Saturday 24 March 2018

Big blow for Connacht as top coach decides to return to New Zealand

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Just like Leicester City, Connacht are discovering that it is hard to keep everyone after achieving unexpected success.

While Jamie Vardy considers a transfer from the Premier League champions to the Gunners, Connacht must plan for next season without star Robbie Henshaw and key Pro12 title contributors Aly Muldowney and AJ MacGinty.

Furthermore, the province announced today that backs coach Andre Bell, who helped create the province's distinctive attacking style, has decided to return to his native New Zealand to be with his family.

Bell joined Connacht ahead of the 2014/15 season, and along with head coach Pat Lam, skill coach Dave Ellis and assistant attack coach Conor McPhillips, created an exciting brand of rugby based on offloading and handling, which ultimately saw the westerners crowned league champions.

There will be continuity with Bell's replacement, at least, with McPhillips getting a promotion to the role of backs coach. Bell was also the kicking coach, with Connacht legend and Domestic Rugby manager Eric Elwood set to assume the position on an advisory basis.

The province also announced the hire of Simon Kavanagh as their Head Performance Analyst.

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