©INPHO/Cathal Noonan Pat Lam (pictured in 2006).
kiwi flavour

Reports name Pat Lam as next Connacht coach as O'Shea is scolded

The arrival of the former Samoan and All Black international would sweep the board for Kiwi coaches in Ireland.

CONNACHT HAVE YET to make any official announcements but two sporting sources are declaring Pat Lam as the province’s coach for next season.

The Irish Examiner and Rugby World magazine have announced the news, with RW stating that Lam will be offered a three-year deal.

Connacht announced their first and ‘A’ teams for rugby action this weekend but no official statement on Lam, the former Samoan international, has been forthcoming.

Eric Elwood revealed last October that he would not be renewing his contract out west.

His employers have cast a wide net with assistant coach Billy Millard telling that he had received calls from coaches in Australia and New Zealand about the post.

Sean Holley, formerly of Ospreys, distanced himself from the job last weekend but Lam, who coached Auckland Blues in the best, would bring some extra Kiwi flavour [he was capped once by New Zealand] to Galway.

Warning for O’Shea

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea expressed his surprise this week that former Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan had not made it onto the shortlist at Connacht.

He told me, “If you don’t know the [selection] process, it is ridiculous to pass comment.

Without knowing the full story, I’d say it was a surprise that Eddie’s name has not come up. He seems like a pretty obvious candidate with an outstanding CV.

“Sometimes, though, clubs are looking for different types for different roles.”

O’Shea has been warned by the RFU about his ‘future conduct in regard to comments about match officials’ following post-match comments about certain referees being ‘out of their depth’ last Sunday.

The RFU added that questioning the integrity of referees in future may lead to him being charged with bringing the game into disrepute.


Harlequins, riding high in the Premiership and in Europe, defeated Connacht 30-22 earlier in the season but were beaten 9-8 at the Sportsground last year.

O’Shea said, “Our guys respect Connacht; they are obdurate, play with massive ambition.

“We are in pole position to get out of our pool… we can go a long way to securing a home tie by winning at the weekend.”

The former Ireland fullback praised Connacht’s ‘two exciting young players’, Robbie Henshaw and Kieran Marmion, and reflected on the loss, in recent years, of  Sean Cronin, Ian Keatley, Jamie Hagan, Fionn Carr.

“When you add them all up,” he declared, “you could say that they would have made a heck of a team.”

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