Pete Wilkins signs three year deal as Connacht Rugby Head Coach

Galway Daily sport Pete Wilins signs three year deal as Connacht Rugby Head Coach

Connacht Rugby have announced that Pete Wilkins will be serving as Head Coach for at least the next three years.

Wilkins will be assuming overall responsibility for the senior team from next season after signing a three year contract.

The club will be announcing a new coaching team as it is confirmed in the coming weeks.

Wilkins first joined Connacht Rugby in 2017 as as Defence Coach, before being promoted o the role of Senior Coach with primary responsibility for attack in 2021.

Following Andy Friend’s move to Director of Rugby in 2022, Wilkins became Head Coach, assuming greater responsibility for more of the on-pitch elements of the rugby programme.

Wilkins said that he is “thrilled and honoured” to accept this post for the next three seasons, and lead the talented team and backroom staff he’s come to know.

“In my six years here I’ve come to appreciate what a special province this is – not just the people within the organisation but the wider supporter base and volunteers in the clubs and schools who help make rugby in Connacht what it is today.”

“In that regard I’m thankful to Connacht Rugby and the IRFU for entrusting me with the task of leading the professional setup during what will be a very exciting time on and off the field.”

He said that for now his focus is purely on this season, and ensuring that Connacht has a strong finish in the URC and Challenge Cup.

“I know we can count on our incredible supporters for some vital games in the coming weeks and months.”

“I can assure everyone that we will be doing everything in our power to cap off the great work of Andy during his time here, and to then further build on that, during my tenure at the helm of Connacht Rugby.”

Before coming to Connacht, Wilkins gained wide ranging experience having spent both two years with Edinburgh from 2015 to 2017, and holding a number of roles with the Queensland Reds from 2011 to 2015.

He was also invited to join the Irish coaching team for the tour of New Zealand last summer, culminating in the historic series win.

Willie Ruane, CEO of Connacht Rugby praised Wilkins as an “excellent coach with extensive knowledge of the club and wider province” who understands what the club needs to achieve success.

“He has demonstrated considerable growth as a coach and as a leader throughout his time here at Connacht and we believe he is the right person to now take the group forward.”

After a difficult start to this season, we currently sit in the Top 8 of an extremely competitive URC and in the last 16 of the Challenge Cup, so we still have a lot to play for on both fronts.”

“In that regard, I look forward to us delivering a strong performance for the rest of this season and to Pete taking the group forward for next season and beyond.”