Connacht have confirmed the appointment of Kieran Keane as their new Head Coach from the 2017/18 season.
The former All-Black will replace current coach Pat Lam, who is leaving the Sportsground to take charge at Bristol in the summer.
Keane will join the province on a three-year contract from Super Rugby side the Chiefs, where he currently works as an Assistant Coach.
He has also had a spell as Assistant Coach at the Highlanders and was Head Coach of the Tasman Makos, where he made his biggest mark.
He also coached the New Zealand U-16 and U-17 age grade sides.
"Following a rigorous process, we are delighted to be able to confirm the appointment of Kieran as our new Head Coach”, said Connacht CEO Willie Ruane.
"Kieran's rugby CV speaks for itself and immediately highlighted to us that he was the perfect fit for Connacht Rugby in the context of the profile of coach that we were looking for.
"Kieran is a highly experienced Head Coach with a winning track record and a proven ability in identifying talent and maximising the full potential of that talent.
“His ambitious and exciting brand of rugby is also consistent with the way Connacht Rugby and in particular our players want to continue to play the game into the future.
"Kieran's time at Tasman also highlights the connection that his teams have with the community they represent, and that is something he clearly sees in Connacht as well.
"Kieran was immediately able to identify with our vision of 'Grassroots to Green Shirts', further highlighting to us that he was the right man for the job.
"Everyone at Connacht Rugby is extremely excited about the future and Kieran's appointment is key to helping us achieve the level of sustained and consistent success that we are all working towards.
“Before he starts, there is a lot of rugby to be played and I know Pat and the team are fully focused on delivering a really strong finish to the current season”.
Keane will replace Pat Lam, who guided Connacht to the Guinness PRO12 title last season ©INPHO/James Crombie
"During my recent trip to the West of Ireland, I had the chance to meet many people within Connacht Rugby”, added Keane.
“I was immediately taken by the genuine passion they have for the people they represent and the ambition they have to achieve so much more.
"It was clear very early on in our discussions that Connacht Rugby was a good fit for me and I am looking forward to the challenge ahead and to working with the players and everyone associated with the club.”