Connacht recruit Head of Athletic Performance who has worked with NBA franchise

David Howarth has worked with the Oklahoma City Thunder

Connacht recruit Head of Athletic Performance who has worked with NBA franchise

Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Connacht's coaching team for next season is taking shape as they prepare for life without their Guinness Pro 12 winning head coach Pat Lam.

The province have announced the appointment of David Howarth as their new Head of Athletic Performance.

He will arrive at the Sportsground after three seasons with NBA basketball franchise Oklahoma City Thunder.

Howarth has previously worked with the Rugby Academy in his native Australia.

Lam will take charge of Bristol Rugby next season after a successful four year spell in charge of Connacht.

The high point came in 2016 when he led the province to a first ever major trophy as they won the 2016 Guinness Pro 12 final by beating Leinster in the final.

Connacht have also enjoyed experiences in the European Rugby Champions Cup.

Speaking to Off The Ball's Joe Molloy ahead of his departure, Lam spoke about the emotions he was feeling as he prepared to say goodbye to life in the west of Ireland.

"I started the day off by thanking the management team, then we did a players meeting to say goodbye to all of them. After that, Connacht put on a farewell for myself, Conor McPhillips and Paul Bunce. There was a presentation from the whole organisation," he said.

"That's always a tough one, those sort of goodbyes."

Fellow New Zealander Kieran Keane takes over as Connacht head coach next season.