Pat Lam Reveals Emotional Embrace With Players Following News He Was Leaving
Connacht fans were left shocked this week by the announcement that Pat Lam would be leaving the Sportsground at the end of the season.
The Kiwi had another year to run on the contract he signed in 2015, but has come to an agreement with Connacht to leave and has described the decision as “one of the most difficult I’ve had to make in my life”
Aviva Premiership strugglers Bristol revealed shortly after the shocking announcement that the former Samoa captain would be taking over as their new head coach next season. Lam has now explained his reasoning behind accepting in an emotional press conference today.
His decision cam as a complete shock to not only fans and the media, but to the players at Connacht also, with Bundee Aki among those voicing their frustration. The Kiwi centre was brought to Galway by Lam and recently signed a new deal with the club.
Lam explained today that he and Aki embraced following the news and it got emotional..
“Like all the players, everyone was shocked but I have spoken to Bundee and he gave me a pretty big bear hug and we shed a few tears,” Lam said.
“Bundee has made a decision about his family too and he loves the place.”
Lam also shared a particularly heartwarming conversation he had with Kiwi hooker Tom McCartney.
“Tom has been with me since my days in Auckland and he said to me: look, the thing I’m most thankful about is that I’ve seen all the work you have done here and you have been rewarded for it. But it’s no different to the work you put in back in Auckland. But instead of saying goodbye to you because you’ve been sacked, I can say goodbye in six months because you have been rewarded.”
“It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy to tell all the people that mean a lot to me and especially to the players.”
As honest as you like, it’s fair to say he owes Connacht nothing. He has already given them so much.