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Connacht head coach Lam coy on link to vacant position at Bath

The Premiership club sacked Mike Ford on Monday and Lam is believed to be ‘a strong contender’.

PAT LAM SAID he is happy in his role as head coach of Connacht, following speculation that he is in contention for the newly-vacant position at Bath.

However, Lam did also indicate that his contract with Connacht includes “clauses” that may allow him to make an exit before the end of his current deal in 2018.

Pat Lam Lam at Connacht training in Galway yesterday. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Mike Ford, the former Ireland defence coach, was sacked as Bath’s head coach on Monday after a ninth-placed Premiership finish saw the club miss out on Champions Cup rugby for next season.

Ex-Springboks head coach Heyneke Meyer has emerged as the early front-runner for the Bath job, but The Telegraph has also reported that Lam is “a strong contender” to succeed Ford as ambitious owner Bruce Craig looks to return the club to what he views as its rightful place challenging for titles.

Former Blues coach Lam signed a new three-year contract with Connacht early last year in a move that seemingly tied him down to the western province until 2018, but he did not quash the speculation linking him to Bath after the sacking of Ford.

I’m in a job and that’s why I admire all head coaches,” said Lam in Galway yesterday. “It’s a tough job because we get scrutinised for everything and a lot of people don’t know what we do during the week. It’s outcome-based.

“I also realise that it’s a fickle job. When I got sacked by the Blues, I remember coming home and telling some mates, ‘Jeez, I’ve got great news. I’ve finally joined a lot of top coaches who’ve been sacked.’ It was one thing that hadn’t happened to me, so it was good.

“That’s the professional game. It happened to me as a player when Newcastle sold me to Northampton. At the time, I wasn’t happy about it but it was a blessing in disguise because Ian McGeechan bought me and I learnt a lot from him.

Pat Lam 27/5/2000 Lam in action for Northampton against Anthony Foley and Munster in the 2000 Heineken Cup final. Source: Patrick Bolger/INPHO

“My outlook is that there’s two types of job in the world. There’s the jobs you have to do and there’s the jobs you love to do. Sometimes you have to do the jobs you have to do to finally do the jobs you love to do.

“Just make sure you finish your life you love to do and I’m fortunate enough to be doing a job I love to do. Where that would be, I totally understand that I’ve got two more years here.

“I know there’s clauses and all that sort of stuff, but ultimately if I look too far ahead you’ve all sorts going on in front. Mate, we’re in a fickle job, it’s professional rugby and you don’t know what’s around the corner.”

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Murray Kinsella

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