Connacht backs coach Billy Millard has confirmed he will be leaving the province at the end of the season.
Millard, in his second season with Connacht, is taking up a position in the United States where his partner lives.
It had been hoped the popular Australian would complete a third year with the province, having been heavily involved in the development of Connacht’s up-and-coming youngsters like Robbie Henshaw, Kieran Marmion and Dave McSharry.
Coach Eric Elwood said Millard had been outstanding in his role as backs /attack coach since his arrival in 2011.
“His work ethic, knowledge, attention to detail and delivery has been top class in all areas, and will be missed. I personally want to thank him for his friendship and the work that he has done at Connacht Rugby."
Millard wished Connacht well for the future.
“ In particular, I would like to thank Eric. He is a special person and I have learnt many things from him both on and off field.”
Another popular member of the squad, forward Andrew Browne, has signed a new two-year contract. Brother of former Connacht lock Damien, Andrew has made 84 appearances for the province, despite missing most of last season through a torn Achilles tendon.
However the Galway-born 26-year-old, who can play in either the second or back rows, recovered fully this season and has become a key member of the Connacht squad.
Chief executive Tom Sears said Browne’s ability to cover a number of positions was a real asset.
'The coaching staff is delighted with his form this season and believe there is more to come from him in the future as his game continues to develop. As a local born player he has a real affinity to Connacht Rugby and we see the qualities in him to become a vital member of the squad for years to come.”