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  • "They Were Shocked And That's The Truth" - Willie Ruane Describes Connacht Players Reaction To Pat Lam News

"They Were Shocked And That's The Truth" - Willie Ruane Describes Connacht Players Reaction To Pat Lam News

"They Were Shocked And That's The Truth" - Willie Ruane Describes Connacht Players Reaction To Pat Lam News
By Conor Neville
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Bundee Aki's tweet leapt out of people today. Bundee has been known to be a touch rash on the twitter machine ever since he tweeted in October that he'd had "a great ride with my brothers in green."

Many people quite naturally assumed that this Bundee leaking the news of his own imminent departure.

Those same people were then left looking a tad foolish when it was disclosed shortly after that Aki was signing a new contract.

This morning, he tweeted this offering.


Kieran Marmion was quick to try to defuse the situation.


On Off the Ball tonight, Willie Ruane confirmed that the players were shocked when they learned of Lam's departure.

They were shocked and that's the truth. It came as a bit of a bolt from the blue for many of them, one or two of them might have heard a rumbling over the weekend.

But for the vast majority of them, they had no sense this was coming. Like any guy who is a coach like Pat, and a figure as strong as Pat, it would have been a shock to them and I don't mind saying that they were a little taken aback for the first bit of the morning. But genuinely as the day went on, they've had time to digest it and I caught up with them again after lunch, some of the leadership group, and as they start to get their head around it, they're very much focused now on Champions Cup week.

Later in the interview, Joe Molloy asked Ruane whether Connacht would prioritise the selection of an Irish coach. The answer seemed to be 'No'.

You'd like to have a quality Irish coach come through. But first and foremost, they need to be quality. If now is the time, great. If it's not now, then so be it.

We have a responsibility to the player group that's here. We have a responsibility to our fans. They're very ambitious. Everyone in Connacht rugby is ambitious to achieve right now.

It would be great. It would be great if we could get a coach who plays a very attractive style of rugby, winning rugby, and is Irish.

But you may not be able to tick all them boxes in one go.

Eddie O'Sullivan, who still lives in Galway, said on Off the Ball earlier that he hadn't given up on Irish rugby but "Irish rugby may have given up on me!"

He pointed out that the last time the Connacht job  cropped up, he wasn't even interviewed. He talked in general terms about the job represented a "very interesting project" for whoever took it on.

O'Sullivan coached Connacht in the early-to-mid 1990s, replacing George Hook and being replaced by Warren Gatland.


Elsewhere in the interview, Ruane says the decision is made jointly by the IRFU and Connacht Rugby. He described David Nucifora as an "excellent support" to them in their efforts to find a coach.

Read more: Tarzan, Hitler And Snubbing The Brits: In Praise Of The Great Dr. Pat O'Callaghan

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