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Kieran Keane signs three-year deal to take Connacht reins this summer

Former New Zealand centre Kieran Keane will replace Pat Lam as Connacht head coach this summer, having signed a three-year deal to move to Galway.

The Chiefs' attack coach will leave Super Rugby in time to head up Connacht's preparations for the 2017/18 campaign.

Keane will also go toe-to-toe with current boss Dave Rennie next term, when the Chiefs head coach takes the reins at Glasgow Warriors.

Connacht CEO Willie Ruane hailed the appointment of an experienced, attack-minded coach who can continue the trends ushered in by Lam, who joins Bristol in the summer.

"Kieran's rugby CV speaks for itself and immediately highlighted to us that he was the perfect fit for Connacht Rugby in the context of the profile of coach that we were looking for," said Ruane.

"Kieran is a highly experienced head coach with a winning track record and a proven ability in identifying talent and maximising the full potential of that talent.

"His ambitious and exciting brand of rugby is also consistent with the way Connacht Rugby and in particular our players want to continue to play the game into the future.

"Kieran's time at Tasman (Makos) also highlights the connection that his teams have with the community they represent, and that is something he clearly sees in Connacht as well.

"Everyone at Connacht Rugby is extremely excited about the future and Kieran's appointment is key to helping us achieve the level of sustained and consistent success that we are all working towards.

"Before he starts, there is a lot of rugby to be played and I know Pat (Lam) and the team are fully focused on delivering a really strong finish to the current season."

Keane featured in six New Zealand matches during a 10-year stint with Canterbury but never won a Test cap for the All Blacks.

The former school teacher enjoyed a fruitful spell as Tasman Makos head coach that followed a stint as an assistant at the Highlanders in 2011.

"During my recent trip to the West of Ireland I had the chance to meet many people within Connacht Rugby and I was immediately taken by the genuine passion they have for the people they represent and the ambition they have to achieve so much more," said Keane.

"It was clear very early on in our discussions that Connacht Rugby was a good fit for me and I am looking forward to the challenge ahead and to working with the players and everyone associated with the club."

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