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Coaching & Development, Leadership & Culture, Performance | Mar 12, 2020
The Connacht Head Coach walks us through his approach to coaching and the lessons he's learned along the way.

The Leaders Performance Podcast returns with Andy Friend, the Head Coach of Connacht Rugby.


By John Portch

The Canberra native has been coaching for more than two decades across three continents, building the sort of resume that enticed Connacht to charge Friend with sustaining their recent success.

Having been forced to retire prematurely due to injury, Friend stayed in the sport as a skills coach and assistant, first with the Waratahs, then with the Brumbies, where he developed a relationship with Head Coach Eddie Jones. He went with Jones to the Australia men’s national team before striking out as a head coach in his own right at Harlequins in 2005.

Having been forced to retire from the game, Friend went into coaching as a skills coach and assistant, first with the Waratahs, then with the Brumbies, where he developed a relationship with Head Coach Eddie Jones. He went with Jones to the Australia men’s national team before striking out as a head coach in his own right at Harlequins in 2005.

He returned to the Brumbies as Head Coach in 2008 before spending four years coaching in Japan at the Canon Eagles [2012-14] and Suntory Sungoliath [2014-16].

Friend then coached for two years with the Australia men’s sevens before Connacht came calling in 2018 and handed him a remit of sustain the success that led them to the top table of European rugby.

On the conversational agenda were:

  • His transition from being a skills coach/assistant to a head coach [5.35];
  • Providing Development opportunities for his staff [14:00];
  • Optimising learning environments [20:10];
  • The balance between data and coaching intuition in rugby union [28:30];
  • His biggest lessons at Connacht so far [29:55].

Further listening:

Sir Dave Brailsford

Listen above and subscribe today on iTunesStitcher and Overcast, or your chosen podcast platform.

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