Connacht rugby coach Eric Elwood is to step down at the end of the season after three years in charge at the Sportsground.

The shock announcement comes just over a week ahead of the province's second ever Heineken Cup campaign.

It's believed that family commmitments are the main reason behind Elwood's decision to leave the province.

The former Irish international informed Connacht CEO Tom Sears of his intentions some time ago.

Other members of the Connacht management were informed last week and the players were told on Monday.