Heineken Cup winning captain Pat Lam will join Connacht Rugby in April to work alongside current head coach Eric Elwood for the remainder of the season.
The newly appointed 44-year-old will arrive in time to be involved with Connacht's final three games of the current campaign before he assumes full control as the new head coach on 1 June.
Chief Executive Tom Sears said: "Pat's early arrival will ensure that there is an opportunity for him to work alongside Eric and the coaching staff, get to know the players and facilitate an effective handover and transition. It will also mean that he can begin planning the crucial pre-season period and make the best possible start next season.
"Already Pat is being involved in discussions regarding player recruitment and planning for next season and beyond and we are making good progress on that front.
"It's important to note that Eric is fully supportive of Pat's early arrival and looking forward to working with him."
Lam, who captained Northampton Saints to Heineken Cup glory in the 2000 final, said: "I'm delighted to be able to get to Connacht early, spend some time with Eric, the coaching staff and the players before the season finishes and start looking ahead to next season."
ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
Following an investigation by ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor, into the registration of the London Welsh player, Tyson Keats, for the 2012/13 Amlin Challenge Cup, a misconduct complaint has been made against London Welsh.
Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon) has been named ERC European Player of the Year 2013. The prestigious award crowns an outstanding season for the out-half who led the French club to a dramatic Heineken Cup final victory over ASM Clermont Auvergne at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.