Guinness Pro12

Keane to replace Lam at Connacht

Kieran Keane will leave Chiefs to take over as head coach of Pro12 champions Connacht ahead of the 2017-18 season.

The Chiefs assistant head coach has agreed a three-year contract to replace the Bristol-bound Pat Lam.

Former All Black Keane also spent a year as number two to Jamie Joseph at Highlanders from 2011 to 2012 before a successful spell in charge of Tasman Makos.

Keane said: "During my recent trip to the west of Ireland, I had the chance to meet many people within Connacht and I was immediately taken by the genuine passion they have for the people they represent and the ambition they have to achieve so much more.

"It was clear very early on in our discussions that Connacht was a good fit for me and I am looking forward to the challenge ahead and to working with the players and everyone associated with the club."

Connacht CEO Willie Ruane said: "Kieran's rugby CV speaks for itself and immediately highlighted to us that he was the perfect fit for Connacht in the context of the profile of coach that we were looking for.

"Kieran is a highly experienced head coach with a winning track record and a proven ability in identifying talent and maximising the full potential of that talent.

"His ambitious and exciting brand of rugby is also consistent with the way Connacht and in particular our players want to continue to play the game into the future."