Wednesday 13 December 2017

Lam ringing Connacht changes as Bell signs on

New Zealander Andre Bell will join the coaching staff at Connacht next season. Photo: Teaukura Moetaua/Getty Images
New Zealander Andre Bell will join the coaching staff at Connacht next season. Photo: Teaukura Moetaua/Getty Images

Ruaidhri O’Connor

Connacht's New Zealand recruitment drive continued yesterday as they added former Wellington Lions head coach Andre Bell as backs and kicking coach.

The province engaged the services of Ireland coach Joe Schmidt to sit in on their interview panel as they sought to improve their professional set-up and head coach Pat Lam was delighted with the result.

Having added Mils Muliaina and Bundee Aki to their backline while losing Dan Parks and Gavin Duffy, former Samoa international Lam admitted that the province will be inexperienced behind the scrum going forward.

"Our backline for next season is remarkably young with 12 of the 16 backs coming in under the age of 25.

"But the addition of Andre as well as Mils Muliaina as player-mentor will really drive the development of the young Irish-qualified players," he said, while paying tribute to the IRFU who have pledged an additional €1m to the development of Connacht for next season.

"It's an exciting time for Connacht Rugby and we're already looking forward to next season.

"I'd like to thank the IRFU for all their work and also Joe who sat on the interview panel with us.

"As the national coach and particularly as a quality backs coach, Joe's input was crucial in ensuring we got the right person for the job."

Irish Independent

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