Bernard Jackman sits high among the early forecasted favourites to replace Lam at Connacht.
Following the news today that Connacht’s much lauded head coach will be swapping the helm of Guinness Pro12 champions for potential second tier English rugby next season, names are already being touted as to who will take the hot seat in Galway.
Paddy Power confirm that the former Connacht and Leinster hooker is in pole position at 5-1 to take the baton from the former Samoan captain. Just behind “Birch ” at 8-1 is Glasgow Assistant Coach Dan McFarland, with Eddie O’Sullivan (12-1) close behind. Stuart Lancaster (16-1) and Eric Elwood (20-1) round up the top five candidates, according to the bookmaker.
Jackman has been instrumental in an impressive period for Grenoble in the Top 14. A climb from the second tier of rugby to tussling with the might of the French’s finest now sees the club languish at the foot of the table with only two wins from thirteen games. The Irishman is still highly thought of at the French outfit having been appointed as Director of Rugby this year until 2017, however.
It is no secret that Grenoble’s head honcho has designs to coach in Ireland. Could the former Connacht forward return to the team where he began his provincial rugby? The ex-forward’s ties to the province are undoubted, with a total of five seasons spent with there in two spells. Jackman is a former colleague of “The Devil’s Own” CEO Willie Ruane and Eric Elwood, among others out west. Grenoble’s manager, and former Connacht lock Andrew Farley, is yet another connection.
With an impressive resume and experience of coaching Irish clubs, Jackman has surely warranted the attention and speculation as to his next step in his rugby career. It was only last year that Jackman was allegedly speculated to take over from Joe Schmidt at Ireland, so time will only tell.
Adam Haynes, Pundit Arena
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