IRFU chief urges Connacht to appoint Irish coach
THE race to succeed Eric Elwood as Connacht coach is hotting up after IRFU president Billy Glynn admitted a preference for an Irish coach.
Eddie O'Sullivan and Anthony Foley were among the names linked with the post after Elwood announced his intention to step down at the end of the season, while Australians Billy Millard and Dan McFarland are options if Connacht opt for continuity and appoint from within.
O'Sullivan has been in the frame for a number of jobs since leaving his role with the US Eagles, while Foley was a strong candidate for the head coach position at Munster before Rob Penney's appointment.
As it stands, Leinster, Munster and Ulster are all coached by outsiders and, with Connacht chief executive Tom Sears stating that the post has attracted worldwide interest, Glynn would like to see an Irish appointment.
"I think I'd like to see Connacht recruit a homegrown coach," said the Galwegians clubman. "We see now that our homegrown coaches are emigrating. We have a number of them in England, and that's not good for the game in Ireland.
"We have to see that there is a place for them in Ireland, and this is an opportunity to do that. There are lots of good coaches out there.
"Names have been mentioned in the media. Certainly all of those people are applicants and I'm sure some of those people who have gone abroad are applicants. That would be good.
"We can't just ignore our local coaches. We've seen they are successful abroad, so there is no reason why they can't be successful here."
The candidates will be interviewed by a four-man panel made up of Sears, Connacht professional games board members Conor McGuinness and Steve Cunningham, and an IRFU representative.
Applications for the position close on December 1, with Connacht looking to unveil their new man before the end of January.