Friday 20 October 2017

Race to replace Lam in Connacht hot seat takes a twist as bookies favourite rules himself out

Connacht head coach Pat Lam during squad training at the Sportsground in Galway. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Connacht head coach Pat Lam during squad training at the Sportsground in Galway. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Ireland head coach Nigel Carolan. Photo: Sam Barnes / Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Nigel Carolan has ruled himself out of the running to replace Pat Lam as Connacht's head coach next season.

The province's former winger was installed as the early favourite to succeed Lam who will join Bristol, with Carolan's odds shortening to 7/4 at one point last month.

Carolan has been Connacht's academy manager since 2004 and he took over as Ireland U-20s head coach in 2014.

He oversaw Ireland U-20s' historic victory over New Zealand in last June's Junior World Cup and as this year's squad prepare for the start of their Six Nations campaign in Scotland next Friday, that is where Carolan wants to keep his focus for now.

"No, not at this stage," he said of his interest in taking over his home province next season.

"I'm happy doing what I am doing at the moment. It is not to say that down the road it is not something I would be interested in but I am happy doing what I am doing now.

"I have two small kids. Going to work for me is not a job, it's like a vocation. Working with the Connacht academy and this year seeing some of those guys come through, getting capped on the Irish side, makes life really easy as a job.

"To roll the dice as a professional coach does and you are depending on players, decisions, weather, referees, it's a big decision to go down that road and they deserve everything that they get."

Connacht's search for Lam's replacement continues, with Fiji coach John McKee the latest name to be linked with the job.

McKee previously spent three seasons at the Sportsground as assistant coach and has worked with the IRFU's performance director David Nucifora in Australia.

Irish Independent

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