Andy Friend has been announced as Connacht Rugby’s head coach, the Australian will take over from Kieran Keane.
Commenting on the appointment, CEO of Connacht Rugby Willie Ruane said: “We are delighted to announce Andy Friend as the new Head Coach of Connacht Rugby. Andy has a wealth of experience at international and club level and shares our ambition for Connacht Rugby over the coming seasons. He will arrive in the Sportsground at the end of June and will oversee the preseason training plan ahead of the 2018/19 season.”
Speaking on the appointment of Andy Friend, Performance Director of the IRFU David Nucifora commented: “Andy is an experienced Head Coach with insight into both northern and southern hemisphere club rugby through working in both the English Premiership and Super Rugby. He has experience in driving and developing organisation structures and has spent time working at the top end of the international game.”
Following his appointment as new Head Coach of Connacht Rugby, Andy Friend added: “I am extremely excited and honoured to be appointed as Head Coach of Connacht Rugby. Connacht is a proud province with huge potential to build on the success of recent seasons. I look forward to meeting the players, staff, supporters and wider community when I arrive in the Sportsground ahead of the new season.”
Here we look at 10 facts about the Australian and some of his achievement to date on the World and Club Rugby stage. He looks a good fit for Connacht rugby and surely when he is appointed can spur them to greater things in the PRO14 and European competitions.
- Friend was appointed Head coach of the Australian rugby sevens team in 2016.
- Friend coached in the Super rugby championship and he coached the Brumbies.
- He has also coached at English side Harlequins and Japanese league sides Canon Eagles and Suntory Sungoliath.
- He played for the Australian schoolboy’s team 1986-1987, He also played for the ACT Kookaburras
- His position on the field of play was full back and was his favourite
- He has worked under English coach Eddie Jones as skills coach at the Brumbies.
- He guided the Australian U21 side to the final of the 2005 world championship final.
- He has worked with Australia’s Tri Nations side in 2002 and worked with them when they hosted the world cup in 2003.
- Friend undertook a charity ride on bike which covered 5000km FROM Cookstown to Canberra to raise awareness as well as funds for Brain Injury Australia and Outward Bound.
- He guided the Australian sevens team to the quarter finals of the Olympic Games in Rio.