Connacht Rugby have announced a new coaching team for the coming season, with Peter Wilkins, Mossy Lawler, and Colm Tucker moving up to the senior squad.
Peter Wilkins will be taking over the role of Senior Coach responsible for attack, while Moss Lawler has been appointed Assistant Attack & Skills Coach, and Colm Tucker is coming on board as Defence & Forwards Technical Skills Coach.
On top of these three announcement, a search is also underway for a new Forwards Coach as Jimmy Duffy will be departing at the end of this season.
The size of the Professional Coaching is increasing from four to five, giving Head Coach Andy a greater coverage of the different aspects of play, and allowing the individual coaches more scope to drill down into their responsibilities.
Wilkins, Lawler, and Tucker are all coming to the professional coaching team from within the organisation, having previously served other roles with Connacht.
Peter Wilkins moved to Connacht from Edinburgh in 2017 as Defence Coach, having previously held the same role for the Scottish side. Before that he spent eight years in Australia, serving in various positions at the Queensland Reds.
Mossy Lawler moved to the backroom after a successful career on the pitch for Munster and the Wasps in England. Lawler made 65 appearances over the course of his time with Munster from 2001 to 2008, winning two Heineken Cups in the process.
Since 2014 he has served as Elite Player Development Officer in the Connacht Academy and for the past four years as Head Coach for the Connacht Eagles.
Colm Tucker joined Connacht in 2015 as Coach Development Officer before moving to the role of Provincial Talent Coach 12 months later, and subsequently as Elite Player Development Officer.
During that time he was Head Coach of the Connacht U18s that won the 2018 Interprovincial Championship – a first in 10 years for the province.
Between them Tucker and Lawler have been instrumental in the development of the many Connacht Academy players who have moved up to the Professional squad in recent years.
All three coaches have signed two-year contracts running in tandem with Andy Friend’s recently announced extension as Head Coach.
Head Coach Andy Friend said “This is really exciting development for Connacht Rugby. Firstly with Peter as our new Senior Coach we have someone who has been a crucial part of the coaching team since my arrival.
“Pete has an incredible knowledge of the game and has built up a wealth of experience across the PRO14 and Super Rugby. I know he will thrive in his new role of implementing strategies across a number of areas of our programme.”
“I’m equally pleased to welcome Colm and Mossy into our coaching setup from next season. I’ve always believed in strong integration between the Pro and Academy environments, so we’ve been working closely together the past few years.
“Like Nigel and Jimmy before them when they first became Pro coaches, they have worked their way through the coaching ranks here and have played a major part in the development of the many young players we have in our squad.”
Friend added that their appointments will enable greater continuity as Connacht continues to develop homegrown talent via the Academy.