WATCH: 'Without any disrespect, nobody is irreplaceable' - IRFU preparing for life after Pat Lam

IRFU performance director David Nucifora says that they are working closely with the province to find a replacement for the outgoing Connacht head coach

David Nucifora

Image: Irish Rugby TV

News of Pat Lam's planned departure from Connacht at the end of the season came as a shock to many in the IRFU.

In an emotional press conference later that day, the head coach explained how attending the wake of Irish rugby legend Anthony Foley impacted on his decision to leave for Bristol when the season is wrapped up. 

"The reason why it did is that when I went down to Killaloo to see my good friend Axel at his removal and I saw Olive and saw I saw the two kids," he explained.

"Axel was in that same environment that we all are as head coaches, and with all the challenges of that. But when I saw him there and found out what happened, and we were so close because we are in the same situation, I could picture everything because I'm in that situation myself."

Lam pointed to the fact that there are heart conditions which run through his family and by joining Bristol, he had assured that his family would have a future, even after he was gone.

In a wide ranging interview with RTÉ's Michael Corcoran, IRFU performance director David Nucifora addressed the imminent departure of what is now a legendary figure in Irish rugby.

"We've got a great working relationship there so Connacht need to understand what they want from a coach out there," he told Irish Rugby TV.

"We've sat down with them very early on and laid out a profile with them; with their CEO Willie Ruane and with their game board to establish the profile of what they need going forward.

"Between us we'll work diligently to make sure we come up with the right person to build on the work that's been done out there by Pat and the players.

"Every coaching appointment is crucial. There's been so much good work done out there and we're all very conscious of what we do next and where we go next. That's the reality of sport. People will always come and go and move on. 

"It's about how well you plan around what you do next and where you go next. It's the same for players when they move on. There's always a period of time when you think 'we can't let that happen, that player is irreplaceable'.

"Without any disrespect to anyone, nobody is irreplaceable. You work to build on the good work that people have done before for you."