Connacht Rugby have confirmed that Dewald Senekal will join the province as forwards coach from the beginning of the 2021/22 season.
Senekal arrives with extensive coaching experience, most recently serving as forwards coach for Stade Francais in the Top 14 after taking over from Paul O’Connell in the role.
From 2017 to 2019 he was joint head coach of Grenoble, leading them to promotion from Pro D2 to the Top 14 in his first season.
The 40-year-old South African began his coaching career in 2015 as forwards coach of Bayonne where he finished a long playing career.
He also played for Toulon and Agen in France, and both the Cheetahs and the Lions in his native South Africa.
Commenting on the news, Connacht head coach Andy Friend said: “Following an extensive recruitment process, we are delighted to announce Dewald’s appointment to the Connacht coaching team.
“He is an extremely impressive individual who will add a lot to the set-up, as well as providing a fresh pair of eyes and new ideas. I know the players will really enjoy working with him and the coaches likewise.
“Our coaching team is now complete with Dewald joining Pete (Wilkins), Mossy (Lawler), Cullie (Colm Tucker) and myself for the next two years, and we feel very optimistic about what we can achieve both as a group and in the province.”
Senekal says he cannot wait to link up with his new side, admitting: “I am thrilled to be joining the Connacht Rugby coaching team.
I played against Connacht at the Sportsground during my time at Bayonne and was instantly struck by their loyal, passionate fan base and, since then, the province’s infectious ambition and drive to succeed.
“There’s a group of talented young players there which is a testament to the work done at all levels the last few years, and it’s my job now to help them continue their development.
“I’m very grateful to Andy and the team for giving me this opportunity, and I’m counting down the days before I make the move to the west of Ireland and begin preparations for next season.”