Connacht Rugby have confirmed that Conor McPhillips will take over as Backs Coach for the senior team from the start of the 2016-17 season. Andre Bell, who had previously held the role as Backs & Kicking coach for the last two seasons, has returned home to New Zealand to be with his family.

A former player with Connacht Rugby from 2003 – 2008, McPhillips was appointed Head Performance Analyst for the province in 2010 and was given greater responsibility within the coaching team last season in his additional capacity as Assistant Attack Coach.

McPhillips had previous coaching experience with St Marys RFC as well as a Director of Rugby role with Newbridge College in Co. Kildare. He was also Head Coach of the Connacht Sevens’ side that finished 3rd in the Limerick World Club 7’s last August.

Connacht Rugby can also announce the appointment of Simon Kavanagh as the new Head Performance Analyst for the coming season. Simon joins Connacht Rugby from Avenir Sports – Ireland’s leading Performance Analysis company and the Master Distributor of Sportstec Products for the 32 counties.

It has also been confirmed that Eric Elwood, former Connacht Rugby player and head coach and currently Domestic Rugby Manager, will be involved with the senior setup on an advisory basis to work closely with the goal kickers.

Coaching team 2016/17

Pat Lam                             Head Coach

Jimmy Duffy                      Forwards Coach

Conor McPhillips              Backs Coach

Dave Ellis                           Skills Coach

Eric Elwood                       Goal Kicking

Simon Kavanagh              Head Performance Analyst

Commenting on the new appointments, head coach Pat Lam said:

“I’d firstly like to thank Andre (Bell) for all his hard work and dedication to the team over the past two years. Andre spent many hours working with our young back line and gave them the confidence and skills to execute our game plan effectively. We all wish him well as he returns home to New Zealand to be with his family and we have no doubt he will add value to whatever group of players he works with in the future.

“I’m delighted that Conor has agreed to step into a fulltime coaching role after doubling up as the Head Performance Analyst and Assistant Attack Coach for last season. Conor is hugely passionate about Connacht and has given many years of service – first as a player, then an analyst and now a coach. He has an impressive rugby brain with an eye for the fine detail that makes a big difference. I have every confidence that he will build on the good work that Andre has done and take it to another level necessary for next season.

“I’m very pleased that Eric (Elwood) has agreed to come on board in an advisory capacity for our goal kickers. There is no one at all who comes close to having the knowledge and expertise of the intricacies of kicking at the Sportsground. Eric will be an invaluable resource for our team and all our players will benefit massively from his vast experience.

“I’d also like to welcome Simon (Kavanagh) to the team. His knowledge and expertise in IT, as well as the software products we use, will undoubtedly take our detailed analysis to another level moving forward.

 “I believe that any team is only as good as the quality of the management team and the coaching group in place to run the programme. By striving to improve each player to become a better rugby player and a better person, we will improve as a team and I have a lot of confidence and belief in our coaching group that we can continue to do that.”



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