Andy Friend doesn't believe there will be a major break-up of Connacht’s coaching staff at the end of the season, despite Mossy Lawler announcing he will join the Australian in departing the province.

Lawlor, who is attack and skills coach at Connacht, will end his eight-year stint in Galway to become Munster’s skills coach. The 42-year-old Limerick native spent eight years with Munster during his playing days, winning a Heineken Cup and Celtic League.

Friend is also leaving Connacht this summer after five years as head coach and director of rugby, but he is not expecting a further disintegration of the coaching ticket.

"Mossy has given eight brilliant years here to Connacht," said Friend. "He’s a Limerick man, he’s a family man, he’s got a wife and two young boys there, so it is tough.

"The coaching game is tough so if he can get back closer to them then it is going to make life easier for him. I am really pleased for Mossy that he has got that opportunity to move home.

"He will be missed here, no doubt about that. He has given great service here.

"In terms of the wider coaching team there is a process in place here at the moment and I have no doubt there will be a strong coaching ticket next year."

Andy Friend is not involved in Connacht's recruitment of his successor

Connacht have begun the task of finding a successor for Friend but the 53-year-old said he is not part of the recruitment process.

"I'm not involved with the process at all," said Friend. "There is a process taking place with our CEO and Pro Rugby committee, so they are dealing with that with the IRFU.

"I honestly believe we have an outstanding coaching team. Pete Wilkins, what he is doing there as the head coach, I think he is running a really good ship.

"Mossy has done really well with our skills and attack work and Cullie Tucker, what he has done with our scrum and our breakdown work has been outstanding. And Dewald Senekal with our lineout and our maul work, we have seen growth in it all the time.

"And then sitting behind them we have Mark Sexton and Andrew Browne in the academy, two really impressive young coaches led by Eric Elwood and I think that’s what Connacht have done well previously.

"That’s where Mossy and Cullie came out of, the academy, so we are grooming good young coaches there and they are getting a taste of working with the pro coaches, they are doing their own international stuff with Irish U20s and U18s.

"I’m really comfortable and confident that the Connacht coaching ticket is going to be strong for a good while yet.

"Connacht has promoted from within previously and I’m not going to second-guess that but all I know is that there are good people here."

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Cathal Forde scored two tries in Connacht's win over the Cell C Sharks

Connacht return to Challenge Cup action on Saturday when they face a Brive side who they beat in France before Christmas, but have since won three games in a row in the Top 14.

Friend will be without forward Oisín Dowling until mid-February after he suffered a knee injury in last weekend’s win against the Cell C Sharks but Jarrad Butler is available after recovering from the finger injury sustained against Leinster on New Year’s Day.

Connacht won their opening two games in the Challenge Cup and a bonus-point win against Brive, who are expected to rotate their side for the trip to Galway, would boost their chances of securing a home tie in the knockout stages.

"We do need a [try] bonus and it depends on the weather because you can get into strife if you chase too early," said Friend.

"I just want to see us build our game like we did last week. Our set-piece delivered, lineout defence, we got a maul try. Our scrum, under enormous pressure against one of the great scrummaging teams around at the moment, we got a penalty, they got one, and we had 100% delivery from there.

"You have to build the game on the foundations and we’re doing that at the moment."

Watch Munster v Northampton Saints in the Heineken Champions Cup live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player on Saturday from 2.30pm (kick-off 3.15pm).