Long goodbye Eric Elwood confirms he will leave Connacht at seasons end


first_imgA personal decisionElwood, who has a 24-year association with his home province, stressed that his decision not to renew his contract had ‘nothing to do with any on-field issues or performances or anything off the field’. He said:Connacht has progressed enormously in the last couple of years and I can only see that continuing but for me personally the time is right to step aside at the end of this season and let someone else take things on.“It is a decision that I have not made lightly and it’s an emotional one but again I would like to make it very clear that it is my decision and no-one else’s.“I have not been under any pressure to step down and I have always received great support from the IRFU, the Professional Game Board and everyone involved with Connacht.” CONNACHT RUGBY HAS officially confirmed that Eric Elwood is to leave his position as head coach at the end of the current season.There was much speculation about the 5pm announcement on Wednesday and Elwood’s future at the province but neither he, nor club captain Gavin Duffy, spoke about it at the Heineken Cup launch in Dublin on Tuesday.In a statement released by the province, Elwood said, “I have come to this decision after thinking long and hard about what is best for me and also what is best for Connacht.“I have given a big part of my life to Connacht Rugby and I feel that it is time for me to have a change and time for the province to have a change as well.”The 43-year-old represented the province 168 times as a player and won 35 caps for his country, appearing in two Rugby World Cups.He took over the head coaching role in 2010 having previously acted as assistant to Michael Bradley (now at Edinburgh Rugby). Elwood – and TheScore.ie green microphone – at the Aviva on Tuesday. (©INPHO/Billy Stickland)Recruitment processChief Executive Tom Sears said, “Eric Elwood is synonymous with Connacht Rugby and he will leave a big void. His decision has come as a surprise but it is one we respect and understand.“Eric will remain in charge for the rest of the season and we will begin a recruitment process to find someone who can build on the foundations he has put in place and take us to the next level.” Sears added:We will look to appoint the very best person we can and they will be charged with delivering the results that will see Connacht challenge successfully on all fronts, the search will be comprehensive and global.The Irish Independent has kicked off the speculation by suggesting that former Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan, who lives in Ballinasloe, Galway, may be ideally suited, and situated, for the role.The Irish Times believes assistant coach Billy Millard would be the front-runner if Connacht promoted from within.Read: Rory Best in line for Ulster returnRead: Eric Elwood: If I won Euromillions I’d sign Richie McCaw myselflast_img

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