Connacht boss Andy Friend has extended his deal with the province, keeping him at the Sportsground until the end of the 2022/23 season.

The Australian is in his third season with the Westerners, having joined in the summer of 2018 following head coach roles in Australia, England and Japan. 

"Ever since my wife and I moved to the west of Ireland I have been blown away by both the welcome we have received from the people here, as well as the pride they have for their province and for Connacht Rugby," said Friend.

"It has been a really enjoyable time for both of us and it was an easy decision to commit to a further two years. There's a hugely exciting few years ahead for Connacht, both on the field with the squad we have and off the field with the redevelopment of The Sportsground.

"I want to play my part in the next stage of this journey and I will do all I can to build on the progress we have made to-date and ensure we deliver on the real potential that exists within this group."

In Friend's first campaign Connacht reached the Guinness Pro14 play-offs, ensuring Heineken Champions Cup qualification in the process.

Back-to-back Champions Cup qualification was secured during the shortened 2019/20 season, and the side currently sit in second place in Conference B of this season's campaign.

Elsewhere, Ulster trio Marcus Rea, Angus Curtis and Craig Gilroy, who has 10 Ireland caps to his name, have signed new one-year deals with the province.

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