Eric Elwood set to step down as Connacht head coach
Last Updated: 03/10/12 5:34pm
Eric Elwood: Leaving Connacht at end of season
Eric Elwood has confirmed he is stepping down as Connacht head coach at the end of the season.
The former Ireland international, who has been in charge of the Irish province for two seasons, has opted not to renew his three-year contract at the end of the current campaign.
It is believed the 43-year-old wants to take a break from rugby in order to spend more time with his young family.
Elwood spent 16 years at the Sportsgrounds as a player and five as assistant coach before taking over as head coach, and has helped improve the struggling province's fortunes.
Connacht recorded their best ever finish of eighth in the RaboDirect PRO12 last season, while they also scored a shock win over Harlequins in their debut campaign in the Heineken Cup.
Eddie O'Sullivan is the early favourite to replace Elwood. The former Ireland coach had a stint with Connacht in the 1990s.
Elwood said: "I have come to this decision after thinking long and hard about what is best for me and also what is best for Connacht.
"I have given a big part of my life to Connacht Rugby and I feel that it is time for me to have a change and time for the province to have a change as well.
"I want to stress that this has nothing to do with any on field issues or performances or anything off the field. Connacht has progressed enormously in the last couple of years and I can only see that continuing but for me personally the time is right to step aside at the end of this season and let someone else take things on.
"It is a decision that I have not made lightly and it's an emotional one but again I would like to make it very clear that it is my decision and no-one else's.
"I have not been under any pressure to step down and I have always received great support from the IRFU, the Professional Game Board and everyone involved with Connacht."