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Pro12: Connacht coach Millard 'still tossing and turning' about replacing Elwood

The Australian has taken a number of calls from southern hemisphere coaches about the soon to be vacant post.

Billy Millard chats to Connacht players at Strandhill in Sligo.
Billy Millard chats to Connacht players at Strandhill in Sligo.
Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

SPECULATION OVER THE next head coach at Connacht Rugby was always going to be a major issue for the western province this season ever since Eric Elwood confirmed he would be stepping down.

Despite the talk of promoting Anthony Foley to a head coaching role and Eddie O’Sullivan coming back in from the cold, the lure of coaching a team on the up is sure to attract interest from abroad.

With Mark Anscombe and Joe Schmidt doing fine jobs at Ulster and Leinster respectively, it would be wanton of Connacht management not to interview outstanding coaches over passport quibbles.

To that end, there has been qualified talk over the possibility of the province’s backs coach Billy Millard stepping up to the position next season.

“I’m still tossing and turning about it,” the Australian told TheScore.ie.

“I’ve been head coach before [Australia Sevens and Melbourne Rebels] and it is a different beast.”

Plenty of interest

Millard paid credit to the work ‘Ernie’ [Elwood] has put into Connacht over the past two decades.

“It’s going to be a massive loss, not only to the club but at a personal level too.”

Millard, in coaching roles in Australia and with Cardiff Blues, has overseen the development of stars like James O’Connor, Luke Burgess and Leigh Halfpenny.

Under his stewardship of the Connacht backs division, young players such as Dave McSharry, Kieran Marmion, Tiernan O’Halloran and Robbie have flourished.

(Head coach) is an exacting position,” Millard remarked. “I’m just muling over whether I want to stick my head up again.

“On every front it’s a full-on job.”

He did reveal, however, that he had received a few phonecalls from Australia asking about the position and the team.

If Millard does decide to put his name forward, he may have to take a ticket and join the interview queue.

‘It would be an awfully proud moment to captain Ireland’ – Jamie Heaslip

‘How in the name of Jesus are we getting to this point’ – Wood blasts Bent call-up

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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