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Andy Friend's decent work with Connacht has been rewarded with a two-year extension to his current deal until the end of the 2022/23 season.

The Australian joined the province in the summer of 2018.

Back to back qualifications have been secured under his watch for the Heineken European Champions Cup, and the Western outfit currently lie second in Conference B of the Pro 14, their win over Leinster at Christmas a recent achievement of note.

Friend was a coach under Eddie Jones when Australia reached the World Cup final in 2003. He's also coached the Brumbies and Harlequins and worked in Japan.

During his time with Connacht, Friend has promoted 15 Academy players to the first team.

Friend has told Connacht rugby that it was a straightforward move to commit himself to a longer term.

“Ever since my wife and I moved to the West of Ireland I have been blown away by both the welcome we have received from the people here, as well as the pride they have for their province and for Connacht Rugby. It has been a really enjoyable time for both of us and it was an easy decision to commit to a further two years.

There’s a hugely exciting few years ahead for Connacht, both on the field with the squad we have and off the field with the redevelopment of The Sportsground. I want to play my part in the next stage of this journey and I will do all I can to build on the progress we have made to-date and ensure we deliver on the real potential that exists within this group.”

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