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As Pat Lam leaves Connacht, the man who paved the way for him returns.
Former Connacht head coach Eric Elwood is to take over their new academy manager next season, succeeding Nigel Carolan.
A legend in in playing days, Elwood is set to take over the day to day running of the academy after it was revealed that Carolan is to become a part of incoming head coach Kieran Keane’s senior coaching staff.
Elwood has been working as domestic rugby manager with Connacht over the last two years, but will now make a return coaching. The former Ireland playmaker played for the province for 17 years, earning more than 160 caps.
“I’m delighted to be taking up the role of academy manager and look forward to building on the fantastic work that Nigel has carried out over the last number of years,” said Elwood.
“In my current role as domestic rugby manager, I have gained direct experience of working with players at the entry point from age-grade rugby to the academy.
“As head coach, I had the benefit of working with players recently graduated from the academy system and who were taking their first steps as professional athletes. I believe that these experiences will provide me with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the demands at academy level.
“I’ve really enjoyed the past two years working with all the staff, clubs and schools in the club and community game and I look forward to seeing some of the young talent coming through to the academy.”
Connacht CEO Willie Ruane is delighted at Elwood’s appointment.
“Eric’s appointment as Connacht academy manager is fantastic news for our province and for Irish Rugby,” said Ruane.
“He has done a great job over the past two years growing the game of rugby across the entire province from grassroots level.
“His passion for player development in Connacht and his huge knowledge of the game make him well-equipped to work with our young academy players and lead the excellent programme we have here at Connacht.”