Connacht have appointed former Wellington Lions head coach Andre Bell as their new backs and kicking coach.
New Zealander Bell signed a two-year deal and will join up with the province in the summer pre-season period. His signing completed Connacht’s back-room team.
Bell is a former Otago player, and, as a teacher and coach at Rotorua Boys' High School, he influenced the careers of All Blacks Liam Messam and Mike Delany.
As head coach of the Lions, he led the team to the 2010 ITM Cup play-offs.
He is currently assisting the Fiji squad prepare for their June internationals against Italy, Tonga and Samoa as well as the World Cup qualifier against the Cook Islands.
Bell said that he was “excited by the vision for Connacht that has been shared with me and by the personal challenge as a coach".
Connacht head coach Pat Lam said Bell had proved himself as an “innovative technical coach in his roles within New Zealand rugby” and that he looked forward to welcoming Bell to Connacht.
"On the back of the support from the IRFU, we are now in a position to strengthen our coaching team from two personnel at the start of last season to four going into the next,” Lam said.
“This was a major priority for me and I'm thrilled to now have a full complement of quality, experienced coaches for next season.
"Our back line for next season is remarkably young, with 12 of the 16 backs coming in under the age of 25. But the addition of Andre as well as Mils Muliaina as player-mentor will really drive the development of the young Irish qualified players."
"The addition of Andre as well as Mils Muliaina as player-mentor will really drive the development of the young Irish qualified players."