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Confirmed -- Connacht appoint Pat Lam to replace Eric Elwood

Lam will take the reins at the Sportsground from 1 June on an initial two-year contract.

Image: INPHO/Photosport

FORMER BLUES BOSS Pat Lam is to replace Eric Elwood as Connacht head coach at the end of the season.

The province confirmed that the 44-year-old will take charge from 1 June on an initial two-year contract “with the option to extend for a further period.”

“My family and I are truly blessed to have another opportunity to be part of a new community and country and we are looking forward to the exciting challenge ahead at Connacht,” Lam, a former All Black and Samoan international, said in a statement last night.

“I was very impressed by the Board’s vision for Connacht Rugby and the fighting spirit of the team and supporters to persevere against all the odds. I’m looking forward to working with good people to build on the great work that Eric has done.”

A Heineken Cup winner with Northampton Saints in his playing days, Lam’s coaching CV includes two New Zealand Provincial Championships with Auckland in 2005 and 2007 before his three seasons in the Super 15 with the Blues. In 2011 he guided the franchise to the semi-finals but left in June 2012 and was replaced by All Blacks legend John Kirwan.

Most recently he has been involved as a consultant to both the Scotland and Samoan international teams.

Announcing Lam’s appointment, Connacht chief executive Tom Sears said: “The position attracted worldwide interest enabling us to select from an incredibly strong field and we are convinced Pat has all the qualities and credentials to take Connacht forward.

“Allied to his experience and technical expertise he displayed an excellent knowledge of Connacht, of where we are, what we aim to achieve, the obstacles we face and how we can ultimately achieve our objective of becoming one of the leading sides in European rugby.

“Throughout the selection process Pat displayed a real affinity to what Connacht Rugby means and that was crucial to us. He will no doubt bring about progressive changes but he is also extremely committed to retaining and building on the qualities that make Connacht unique.”

VIDEO: 4 classic Heineken Cup matches when 4 tries did the trick

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Niall Kelly

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