McPhillips promoted and Elwood returns as Connacht make backroom changes

The Pro12 champions have made some changes after Andre Bell's departure

BY Newstalk 14:34 Wednesday 8 June 2016, 14:34 8 Jun 2016

Conor McPhillips and Head Coach Pat Lam Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Connacht 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 2003-08, 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.

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.


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