"You don't plan to shed tears": Pat Lam recounts his emotional final day at Connacht

The former head coach with the Irish province was speaking to Joe Molloy

Pat Lam

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Pat Lam's departure as head coach from Connacht Rugby this year signalled the end of an era for the Irish province.

A team once on the brink of extinction was guided to a memorable victory in the Guinness PRO12 last year and enjoyed one of the most remarkable seasons in the competition's history.

Now officially head coach with Bristol across the water, Lam begins a new chapter in his coaching career and speaking to Off The Ball, he recounted his final day with Connacht.

"Obviously the Monday after the Northampton game was the toughest and I struggled with that," he told Joe Molloy. "It was the final finality as far as this was the last time we were all going to be together.

"I started the day off by thanking the management team, then we did a players meeting to say goodbye to all of them. After that, Connacht put on a farewell for myself, Conor McPhillips and Paul Bunce. There was a presentation from the whole organisation.

"That's always a tough one, those sort of goodbyes."

Connacht head coach Pat Lam goes back to the dressing room after their defeat to Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens. Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Lam explained that he made the decision to speak to all of the players and wanted to put in perspective what they had achieved during his time with the province.

"I made a point of speaking about every single player and gave them their goals that we started with during our one-on-ones.

"I highlighted what the guys who were with for one year had done, then the guys who were with me for two years, then for three and four.

"It was interesting when you read out their goals and what they wanted to achieve in May 2013, comparing it to where they are now.

"It's a special moment when you read what they said they wanted to do four years ago and compare it to what they have achieved."

He added: "You don't plan to shed tears and I always believe emotion just happens."