Dewald Senekal, who will be joining Connacht Rugby as forwards coach from the beginning of next season.

Connacht Rugby appoint Dewald Senekal as new forwards coach

Connacht Rugby today 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 French sides Toulon and Agen, and South African sides the Cheetahs and Lions.

Following today’s announcement, 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 club.”

Senekal said he can’t wait to link up with his new club. “I am thrilled to be joining the Connacht Rugby coaching team,” he enthused. “I played against Connacht at The Sportsground during my time at Bayonne and was instantly struck by their loyal, passionate fanbase and, since then, the club’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.”

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