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Lam: Finding Connacht's next world class talent is my calling

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Pat Lam believes Connacht can develop their own world class players at the Sportsground. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Pat Lam believes Connacht can develop their own world class players at the Sportsground. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Pat Lam believes Connacht can develop their own world class players at the Sportsground. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Pat Lam has targeted finding the next Robbie Henshaw and bringing him through as one of his priorities after signing a three-year contract extension yesterday to stay in charge of Connacht.

Lam landed the province's biggest ever signing when he secured the services of All Black centenarian Mils Muliaina this season and while he has not ruled out another marquee transfer, he believes they can develop their own world class players at the Sportsground.

"We obviously have to work within our constraints but if we are doing things right - those world-class players are going to come from within.

"When I was back in Auckland I took a team for four years from struggling through and a lot of them boys went on to become All Blacks. And that is what I see here, everyone is talking about how Robbie Henshaw is world class. If you can find them here and bring them through that is first priority.

"Signings have to be able to enhance what you are doing and to help grow the guys that are there. And then obviously, can you afford them as well so there is all them factors going into it but I believe if we can find them and grow them it is going to be even more successful," said Lam.

Faith

The former Samoan international is in his second year in charge and there was an option of a third season when the current campaign ends. But Connacht have placed their faith in Lam and have tied him down to a new deal which will keep him in charge until the summer of 2018.

Lam said he was thrilled with the new deal and is looking forward to making further progress with the province, with a top six finish in the Pro12 this season an immediate priority.

Lam said it didn't take long to make up his mind, not least as his family have settled in Galway.

"No, not at all, it didn't take me long to make up my mind. I have said many times we are very blessed to live in such a lovely place with good people.

"But that's the same reason why I came here - people who are determined and fighting hard to see Connacht Rugby grow and become better and dominant in world rugby. That has not changed, to me this is not a job, it is like a calling. To work with people who are all similar minded people that want to take this organisation and rugby out west to higher and beyond."

Irish Independent