We are delighted to announce the launch of the Connacht Rugby Club Ambassador Programme.

The programme involves at least two professional players being designated to each of the 27 clubs throughout the province for the 2017/18 season.

Each ambassador will visit their club for a range of specialist coaching sessions and seminars throughout the season depending on the needs of each individual club. Players have been assigned to clubs taking into account previous playing or coaching experience in the area.

To celebrate the initiative, two representatives from each of the 27 clubs in Connacht will attend tomorrow’s European Challenge Cup game against Worcester in the Sportsground. Before and after the game, the club representatives will have the opportunity to meet with players and enjoy Connacht’s first home European fixture of the season.

Commenting on the launch, Joe Gorham, Head of Club and Community at Connacht Rugby, said: “We are delighted to be announcing this initiative. The core purpose of our Grassroots to Green Shirts vision is to inspire the community through rugby success. This initiative will strengthen the link between the individual clubs and the professional players.

“Clubs will have the opportunity to lean on the professional experience of players and the programme is a great opportunity for professional player development. Community is central to everything we do in Connacht and this programme is further example of that.”

For more information on our Ambassador Programme, please email [email protected].

Connacht Rugby and the IRFU are delighted to announce that Eric Elwood has been appointed to the role of Academy Manager for the province.

Elwood, who has held the role of Domestic Rugby Manager with Connacht for the past two years, will take over from Nigel Carolan who starts in his new job as Backs Coach with the senior squad this summer.

Former outhalf Elwood was involved as a player with his native province for over 17 years and played 35 times for Ireland.

The Galwegian clubman coached the Ireland Under-20’s from 2006 to 2008, leading the side to the 2007 Six Nation grand slam.

Elwood held the position of Connacht Head Coach from 2010 to 2013. He coached the first Connacht team to compete in the Heineken Cup and brought a number of young Academy players, including Tiernan O’Halloran, Kieran Marmion and Robbie Henshaw through to the senior squad.

Commenting on the new appointment, Eric Elwood said:

“I’m delighted to be taking up the role of Academy Manager and look forward to building on the fantastic work that Nigel (Carolan) has carried out over the last number of years.

“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 & Community game and I look forward to seeing some of the young talent coming through to the Academy.”

Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane added:

“Eric’s appointment as Connacht Academy Manager is fantastic news for our province and for Irish Rugby. 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.”

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