John Muldoon, Connacht’s most-capped player of all time, is to re-join the province as an assistant coach on a two-year deal after spending the last five years working with Pat Lam at Bristol. The former captain will have responsibility for the lineout and maul, working in conjunction with Colm Tucker, who will remain in charge of the scrum and breakdown.
Muldoon made an unrivalled contribution to Connacht rugby over a 15-year career, playing a record 327 times for the province and captaining the side to the historic Pro12 Championship in the 2015-16 season.
Since his retirement in 2018 Muldoon has gained extensive coaching experience in a five-year period with the Bristol Bears. He was first appointed as defence coach before taking on responsibility for the forwards, helping the side win a Challenge Cup in 2020 and then a first-place finish in the 2020/’21 Premiership league table.
“John Muldoon needs no introduction, but it’s worth stressing that first and foremost he’s an excellent coach, who has clearly made a huge contribution in his five years at Bristol,” said Connacht head coach Pere Wilkins.
“I worked with John during his last season at Connacht – and my first – and it was clear at that stage he had all the attributes to become a top-class coach. It’s been great to see that early potential realised over the last few seasons and I look forward to him bringing that experience back to Connacht Rugby.
“Secondly, very few people understand the culture and values of Connacht Rugby like John does. He’s experienced first-hand all the highs and lows, and has a connection with this place that cannot be overstated. That passion and knowledge will be a benefit to all of us, and I know everyone who has an interest in Connacht Rugby will be delighted to see him back in the West.”
Muldoon himself said: “I’m very excited to be coming back to Connacht Rugby. It’s hard to believe it’s been five years and I’m really looking forward to moving back to Galway and getting to work with the boys.
“There’s some familiar faces but a lot of new ones too, since my time there. In that regard I am excited by the blend of young talent coming through within the squad, coupled with the quality and experience of some of the more experienced guys. Dewald’s done an exceptional job the last two years and I want to build on that over the coming seasons.
“I’ve obviously been watching Connacht from afar and its clear the team have been building momentum throughout the season. From speaking to Pete these last couple of weeks I’m excited about his vision for where he hopes to take the team and I am delighted to be able to play my part on that journey and deliver on the level of ambition that everyone with an interest or involvement in Connacht Rugby is striving to achieve.”