You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Donnelly started out as assistant coach last season for Otago, coaching the forwards after a playing career which had taken him to the black jersey and playing in France.
The former lock played in the French Top 14 league until the end of the 2016-17 season in the northern hemisphere and then linked with Otago to start as assistant coach for Otago’s 2017 season.
He was in charge of the forwards and did a handy job as Otago made it through to the semifinals of the championships section of the Mitre 10 Cup.
Cory Brown has departed as Otago coach and has been replaced by Ben Herring.Donnelly said yesterday it took some time to find out whether there would be a role for him with Herring now the head coach, but he would be the forwards coach for the next two seasons.
Donnelly (36) said he was really excited to be in the role and was looking forward to a good season.
"It’s been a big challenge and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I would not want to do the job if I wasn’t enjoying it," he said.
"Some of the aspects of the job I found challenging and was perhaps not so aware of. Just dealing with the selection and the non-selection of players.
"But a lot of the coaching that I did was similar to what I was doing when I was playing, so it has been not too bad."
Donnelly, who is married with two children, said he had really enjoyed being back in Dunedin. Returning to the South was one of the main reasons he had taken the job with Otago.
Herring confirmed yesterday Donnelly would take the forwards this season.
Herring had coached the forwards for Otago in 2016 before heading off to Japan. Announcements on further coaching appointments would be made in the next few weeks.