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'This place is special': Lam open to return to Ireland, maybe even at the 2023 World Cup

The Samoan thinks the 2023 tournament will definitely be here.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

PAT LAM IS confident that Ireland will win the bid to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup — and has not ruled out a return to coach in Ireland.

Lam will start a three-year deal in Bristol next summer but in pointing out the reasons for his own departure, said that a coach can never predict where they will end up a few seasons down the road.

Lam was being tipped as one of the primary contenders to take over as Ireland coach if Joe Schmidt did not extend his contract beyond next summer to 2019, and the outgoing Connacht coach said he would have no hesitation in coming back at some stage in the future if the opportunity arose.

“Without a doubt. This place is special. I have been living in the west of Ireland but Ireland as a country, I have no doubt in my mind that Ireland will get the 2023 World Cup.

“At the heart of it you have other sports, ultimately what rugby is about is community, rugby is about people, rugby is about community.

“When I look at the three options out there, South Africa and France where it has before, even all players on world rugby, everyone would say it must be Ireland and the reason why is the people.

“I have been blessed to have been able to live in this country, been welcomed into this country and experience things away from rugby. People will have a fantastic time (in 2023), it will be an unbelievable Rugby World Cup.

“It is a fickle job I’m in, I don’t know what is around the corner in the next three years but as long as I’m able to the job I love doing, professional rugby coaching, whatever team that is going to be, as long as the vision is right and it is in line with my coaching philosophy, hopefully I will do this before my number is called.”

Greg Feek and Andy Farrell with Pat Lam Lam speaks with Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek and defence coach Andy Farrell at the Sportsground this year. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Lam, who confirmed that he announced his departure this week because he had to give six months notice to leave the Sportsground a year early, said it had been one of the most difficult decisions he has had to make in his career.

“It’s very humbling. We are very humbled by some of the words that people have been saying. But that’s also the reason why I needed to talk today and why I shared more than I normally would share. I’ve shared it because this place means a lot to me and the people mean a lot to me.”

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John Fallon

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