Sir Ian McGeechan assesses ex-All Black Pat Lam as candidate for England’s next coach
Pat Lam, the former Blues head coach, led the Bristol Bears to the top of England’s first rugby prime minister post.
Former British and Irish Lions coach Sir Ian McGeechan says ex-All Black Pat Lam could be a candidate to replace Eddie Jones as England’s next rugby coach.
McGeechan was impressed with the English Premiership’s training standards and cited Lam’s work at the leaders of the Bristol competition.
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Pat Lam is proud that Bristol made it to the English Rugby 2020 qualifiers.
Lam, who played for the All Blacks and Manu Samoa and had a successful club career in England, led the Bristol Bears – backed by billionaire owner Steve Lansdown – to the top of the table in their second season in the elite category .
McGeechan, writing in his The telegraph of the day “Said the progress made by Premiership coaches meant England’s Rugby Football Union” won’t have to look too far “to look for a successor for Jones.
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“Pat has to be on this list,” McGeechan said.
“Bristol is rightly at the top of the list. They may have lost [to Sale] Friday night, but Pat has proven his credentials several times. He has proven that he can build a team and give them the confidence to play rugby. ”
“Yes, he had money to spend. But money is not everything. The real key is being able to merge talents into a squad and Pat did that in Bristol.
“Like Pep Guardiola at Man City and Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds, they’re putting something different on the pitch that forces other teams to question themselves and adapt. The sale took up this challenge on Friday. ”
McGeechan asked if Lam would go if offered the job in England.
“Few players are leaving Bristol, or Saracens or Exeter and there is a reason for that. They are families with strong and stable cultures. The same goes for coaches. Why would you go? International rugby is so different.
Lam, 52, coached Auckland from 2004-2008, but failed at the Blues between 2009-2012.
He took over the Irish province Connacht in 2013 and guided them to the 2016 PRO12 title before joining Bristol in 2017.
Lam led Bristol to the Championship’s runner-up title in 2019 and to the European Challenge Cup crown in 2020.
Bristol made the playoffs last season and this year they have a three-point lead over the Exeter champions with two games to go before the first four playoffs.
Lam’s Bristol Bears squad includes ex-All Blacks Charles Piutau, John Afoa and Steven Luatua, star Fijian midfielder Semi Radrada and England internationals Kyle Sinckler, Ben Earl, Max Malins and Nathan Hughes.
McGeechan was also impressed with other coaches including Rob Baxter (Exeter Chiefs), Steve Borthwick (Leicester Tigers) and Lee Blackett (Wasps) and said Northampton had “completely changed the way they play” under the former coach. of the Hurricanes Chris Boyd.
He also believed young coaches George Skivington and Alex King (Gloucester) and Stuart Hooper (Bath) had potential.