Connacht Assistant Coach Dan McFarland will leave his role with the club at the end of the current season to explore another opportunity abroad.

The former prop, who played for the province from 2000 to 2006, carved out an excellent coaching reputation with Connacht Rugby, having first been appointed as Forwards Coach in 2006 and then Assistant Coach in 2010.

McFarland, who also played for Richmond and Stade Francais, became the second player (after Eric Elwood) to chalk up 100 caps for Connacht when he played against Munster in 2005.

In 2007, he linked up with Elwood to guide the Ireland Under-20’s team to a grand slam of victories in the Six Nations Championship. His international coaching accolades extended to stints with the Emerging Ireland tours and most recently, the Ireland Wolfhounds in January of this year.

CEO Willie Ruane spoke about the impact Dan has had at Connacht:

“Dan has been outstanding in his role with Connacht Rugby over the last 15 years. From player to coach, his influence has been a huge asset to the club. His passion and determination to see this place succeed could never be questioned and he will be greatly missed by all those who have worked with him.

“Dan has played a massive part in moving the team forward and his work ethic, rugby knowledge, attention to detail and delivery has been top class in all areas.

“I personally want to thank Dan, whom I had the privilege of playing and working with, for his friendship and all the work that he has done for Connacht Rugby. And on behalf of everyone, I would like to wish him every success in his future role.

“In the coming days, I will be sitting with the Rugby Advisory Board at Connacht to agree the appropriate process and to ensure we find the most suitable replacement.”

Dan said: “This has been a very difficult decision for me. Connacht Rugby has been such a large part of my life for a long time but I feel the time has come to explore new avenues and different challenges.

“I am extremely grateful to so many people for the opportunities I have been given here; it has been an honour to work with so many committed and talented players. My family and I have had a wonderful 15 years in Connacht. It is our home and we will greatly miss the place and the people. I wish Willie, Pat, Tim and the whole organisation the very best and I have no doubt that the excellent infrastructure that has been put in place will provide continued success going forward.”

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