Connacht head coach Pat Lam will leave the province at the end of the season to take up the top job at Bristol.
The news will come as a huge blow to the PRO12 side but is a considerable coup for Bristol, who are the foot of the Aviva Premiership. Lam was the inspiration behind Connacht’s charge to the Guinness PRO12 title last term and leaves big shoes to fill at the province.
“This has been one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make in my life as Connacht and Galway is such a special place for myself and my family,” Lam said. “The friendships, support and memories we all have experienced throughout our time in the West of Ireland is truly heartfelt and will never be forgotten.
“I feel extremely blessed to have been given an opportunity four years ago to build on the excellent work of Eric Elwood. I’m very proud that I can now pass on the baton with the knowledge that Connacht Rugby is truly seen as one of four strong provinces of Irish rugby.”