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The likely lads: 5 possible replacements for Lam in Connacht

As the Kiwi heads to Bristol, who is likely to take over out west.

Nigel Carolan is the front-runner for the gig.
Nigel Carolan is the front-runner for the gig.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THEY USED TO say “to Hell or to Connacht” but as provincial jobs go, the Galway-based outfit have a lot to offer both an up-and-coming young coach or an experienced positional coach looking to make the transition to the top job.

But who is the most likely to take the position vacated by Pat Lam when he heads to Bristol at the end of this season?

7/4 – Nigel Carolan

The Connacht Academy coach opened the betting on Monday at 12/1 but was quickly backed in to 7/4.

Carolan has, of course, been making a splash as Ireland U20 coach and will be remembered for master-minding a brilliant victory over the Baby Blacks at this year’s World Rugby U20 Championship where they finished runners-up.

5/2 – Bernard Jackman

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Jackman was initially installed at the 5/1 favourite but drifted as support emerged for Carolan.

Having spent the last five years in France, the time might be right for the former Heineken Cup winner with Leinster to return to Ireland.

8/1 – Dan McFarland

Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The fact that McFarland’s set to leave his role with Glasgow at the end of the season to take up a position in Gregor Townsend’s Scotland set-up hasn’t stopped people taking a punt on him replacing Lam.

He does have plenty of experience both as a player and a coach with the Westerners so a return wouldn’t be the biggest surprise in the world.

10/1 – Stuart Lancaster

Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

There’s no doubting that the English coach has the experience. But his four-year stint as England boss featured four runners-up finishes in the Six Nations and a World Cup pool exit.

He has, however, rebuilt some of his reputation as an assistant coach with Leinster where his contract finishes at the end of the year.

10/1 – Ronan O’Gara

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

O’Gara was an assistant coach with Racing 92 as they won the French Top 14 last season.

However, it’s very difficult to see the Munster legend coach against his former province, even with a head coaching job available.

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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