Connacht Rugby and the IRFU have announced that Eric Elwood has been appointed to the role of Academy Manager for the province.
Eric 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 Connacht senior squad this summer.
Former out-half Elwood was involved as a player with his native province for over 17 years and played 35 times for Ireland. The Galwegians clubman coached the Ireland Under-20s from 2006 to 2008, memorably leading the side to the 2007 U-20 Six Nations 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 though a number of young Academy players to the senior squad, including future Ireland internationals Tiernan O’Halloran, Kieran Marmion and Robbie Henshaw.
Commenting on his new appointment, 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.”