Monday 21 August 2017

Duffy no interest in top job as Connacht injury list begins to clear

Connacht coach Jimmy Duffy. Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht coach Jimmy Duffy. Photo: Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Connacht coach Jimmy Duffy has ruled himself out of the running to replace Pat Lam as the province's head coach, as three new signings were confirmed for the Pro12 champions.

Lam announced in early December that he would be leaving the province at the end of the season to join Bristol, but the man in charge of the Connacht forwards insists the job is not for him.

"As of three weeks' ago, whenever it (Lam's departure) was announced, I was the forwards' coach. It is not something that I'd consider to be honest. I'm just concentrating on my job at the minute and trying to do that as best I can," said Duffy.

Since Lam revealed his decision to leave, the squad has been ravaged by injuries and have lost four of their subsequent five matches. According to Duffy, he has seen no fall-off in effort around the club and that the mood in the camp remains positive.

"Fellas were buzzing this morning and have been all week. When these announcements happen it might catch you for a split second but in professional sport you have got to move on and move on fast. After a couple of hours the boys were like, 'Yeah let's get on with the next job'."

It has been a busy few days at the Sportsground after Munster prop Peter McCabe was loaned to Connacht on a short-term deal, while former Leinster academy duo Tom Farrell and Steve Crosbie have signed until the end of the season.

And there was further good news with Craig Ronaldson confirmed fit to return following a thigh injury, just in time to replace the injured Jack Carty for this weekend's Champions Cup clash with Zebre.

In a boost for Irish Six Nations hopes, Ultan Dillane does not require surgery on his ankle injury and is expected back inside the next four weeks.

Skipper John Muldoon also returns after his hamstring troubles, while Dominic Robertson McCoy and Josh Rowland also returned to training. A concussed Peter Robb and Jake Heenan (knee) were absentees though.

"Players are going to fall back in and come off the injury list, we have new players arriving but recruitment and retention is always ongoing," said Duffy.

"We are really happy with the group we have. Obviously we'd like to have more players available and they are coming back on stream now which is great, and guys are coming off injury and rehab.

"It's just the nature of it, I don't think it upsets us too much. The boys are really good at helping the new faces transition into the group and learn what they need to and the returning guys are keen to add to the competition and get back in the squad."

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport