Eric Elwood’s coaching team has been boosted with the appointment of former Australian sevens coach Bill Millard.
Millard replaces fellow countryman Billy Melrose, who unexpectedly left after one season as the backs coach to take up an offer with London Irish.
Millard comes to Connacht with a two year contract, and is well versed in European and Celtic League rugby, having joined Cardiff Blues in 2008 from his post as coach of the Australian Sevens. During his period in Wales, the Blues reached the quarter final and semi-finals stages of the Heineken Cup and lifted the EDF Energy Cup. He is also credited with shaping the rise of Welsh stars Jamie Roberts and Leigh Halfpenny.
The 41-years-old Sydney-born coach and Burnside player, brings a wealth of experience to Connacht, and has been regarded as one of the up and coming coaches in Australia. His track record includes back-to-back premierships with the Sydney University Club in the Tooheys New Cup competition, three years as head coach of the Australian Sevens, and coaching director of the Victorian Rugby Union during which time he took the Melbourne Rebels to the Australian Rugby Championship final.
Throughout his coaching career in Australia he has worked with a host of dynamic youngsters, including scrumhalf Luke Burgess, fullback Ashley Cooper, wingers Drew Mitchell and Digby Ioane and James O'Connor.
Connacht team manager Tim Allnutt says Millard comes with “great pedigree of coaching and a proven track record of success both nationally with Australia and within Europe”.
Work on Connacht’s new stand is on schedule, which CEO Gerry Kelly says, when completed will ensure the Sportsground boasts a venue and facilities to rival many clubs in the RaboDirect PRO12 and Heineken Cup competitions.
" Eric and his team are putting in a huge amount of work on the pitch in their preseason training and the management and professional games board (PGB ) are matching that effort off the pitch to provide a modern, safe and enjoyable venue for our supporters. The Sportsground has always been our home and this development work will make the matchday experience for our supporters considerably better."