Connacht headhunting WP boss Dobson
Connacht have parted ways with Kieran Keane after a disappointing first season under the Kiwi boss, who had signed a three-year deal when joining in the summer of 2017.
According to the Irish online newspaper The42, Western Province coach John Dobson made Connacht's shortlist as an ideal replacement for Keane.
The province are keen to have their new man in place in advance of pre-season and the 2018/19 campaign.
The South African boasts a prestigious CV, which includes the 2017 Currie Cup trophy.
The former WP hooker also had a playing stint in Italy, before moving into coaching with university side UCT Ikey Tigers.
Dobson coached Italian side Roma for the 2009/10 season and was slated to take up the head coach job at the proposed Praetorians Roma Rugby club, who were initially chosen to represent Italy in the Magners League but were replaced by Benetton Treviso before joining.
49-year-old Dobson returned to South Africa and took up a job with Western Province’s U21 side, whom he guided to trophy glory in the National Provincial Championship in 2010.
That led to a promotion as head coach of Western Province’s National Provincial Cup side and he helped them to trophy success in 2012, while he also added another U21 Provincial Championship to his CV in 2013.
He was appointed head coach of Western Province’s senior team in 2015, taking them to the Currie Cup final in his first year and then winning the competition outright in 2017,
Dobson, who has worked with Munster’s Chris Cloete, Jean Kleyn and Gerbrandt Grobler in his time with the South African province, did extend his contract with Western Province for another three years at the end of 2017, but it’s thought that his deal has exit clauses that would allow him to leave for Connacht.
The other coach joining Dobson on the shortlist is Australian Andy Friend.
The 49-year-old is currently available and it’s understood that he is well-regarded by the IRFU’s Australian performance director David Nucifora, both of them having worked with the Brumbies in the past.
Connacht are in charge of securing their own new head coach, Nucifora is required to sign off on all new appointments.