Eddie O'Sullivan slams Connacht over interview snub

Head coach at three World Cups and for three Irish Triple Crown wins – but not worth an interview

Former Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

EDDIE O'SULLIVAN has lashed out at Connacht and the IRFU for not giving him a chance to pitch for the vacant head coach's job at the Sportsground.

Ireland's longest-serving coach was told yesterday that, following a meeting between IRFU and Connacht officials on Tuesday, he was not being called for an interview.

O'Sullivan, who led Ireland to three Triple Crowns, coached Connacht at the outset of the professional era before going on to take the national job for seven years. He said that he did not feel he had any entitlement or expectation to be appointed Connacht head coach in succession to Eric Elwood, but felt that his track record, which includes being head coach at three World Cups (two for Ireland, one for USA) and an assistant at two more, would have been enough for him to be at least called for an interview.

"I am very disappointed that I didn't get called to interview. I thought it was reasonable to expect to sit down with them to discuss the vision I had for Connacht, especially given my background," said O'Sullivan, who lives in Moylough in Co Galway and is now likely to concentrate on securing a coaching position abroad. "It is extremely disappointing not to get that opportunity to lay out my vision for Connacht."

Connacht chief executive Tom Sears said he would not comment on any of the individuals who had applied for the job or expressed an interest in it.

"It is a confidential process. The only person I will comment on will be the person we appoint," said Sears.

It is expected that the new Connacht coach will be named after Christmas, with former Ospreys boss Sean Holley and current Clermont Auvergne backs coach Alex King believed to be strongly in the running. Others being considered are believed to be former Auckland Blues coach Pat Lam and Tony Hanks, who was let go by Sale Sharks last season, while Dan McFarland and Billy Millard, both part of Elwood's management team, are also in contention.