Connacht Rugby and the IRFU have appointed former Westerners head coach Eric Elwood as domestic rugby manager for the province.

Elwood, who played outhalf for Connacht and Ireland, held the position of head coach from 2010-2013, having previously been assistant coach to Michael Bradley.

Elwood represented Connacht 168 times as a player and won 35 caps for his country, appearing in two Rugby World Cups.

The Galway native, who has been working with pharmaceuticals company Omega Pharma for the past year, will take up the new role at the Sportsground in January 2015.

Commenting on the appointment, Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane said: "This is fantastic news for Connacht Rugby. Domestic rugby is an area we identified as vital in moving the province forward.

"Eric will be responsible for growing the game of rugby across the entire province from grassroots level.

"He is someone with huge knowledge and passion for the game and for Connacht Rugby in particular and we are delighted to have him back involved in the organisation."  

Eric Elwood said: "I'm really looking forward to starting in this new role in the new year.

"It will certainly be different for me, but that is what excites me about it.  

"Connacht Rugby has been a huge part of my life and I have always understood the importance of the domestic game in the future of Connacht Rugby as a whole.

"I'm looking forward to working with Willie and everyone in the domestic game in what is a truly exciting period for rugby in the west of Ireland."