Eddie, welcome to the list of the Irish coaching damned
Many years have passed and Eddie and I have mellowed towards each other. It would be ignorant of me not to acknowledge that Eddie was and is an excellent coach. My former Leinster players, who I deeply respect, have high opinions of Eddie’s work ethic, knowledge and coaching ability. Like all long-term coaches, Eddie is a better coach today than he was four years ago.
I worked with Pat Lam when he was an assistant coach of Scotland at the 2003 RWC. I did not offer him a contract at Scotland when I took over after the tournament. I was surprised when Pat became the Auckland Blues coach.
Pat coached an Auckland team that was very talented but hugely underperformed.
All coaches deserve a second chance and I honestly wish Pat well at Connacht. This issue is not about Pat Lam. This is about giving Irish coaches opportunities in a professional environment in their own country.
In my opinion, to suggest that Pat as a coach is so far ahead of Eddie, that Eddie did not even get an interview is an augment that is unjustifiable on coaching qualifications and past history. It beggars belief that those involved would attempt to justify their decision on rugby issues.
Any impartial observers could see that the decision to not interview Eddie were political or personal or a combination of both. Eddie’s name is on an unofficial list of those who will never coach in Ireland again. If it is of any consolation to Eddie, I think he is in excellent company as all the former Irish coaches names above and mine are also on that list.
Eddie, welcome to the list of the Irish coaching damned. If you are on that list applying for gigs in Ireland will only bring disappointment and humiliation, so don’t bother. Eddie has had an injustice done to him and Irish coaching is in the midst of a great injustice.
To Anthony Foley, Neil Doak and any other aspiring Irish coach I would recommend that you do not take out a large mortgage. Either go back to college and study for an alternative career or pack your bags and go across the water.
Follow Mark McCall, Jeremy Davidson and Conor O’Shea, because without an IRFU directive to change policy, that is the only place you will find the opportunity to become a professional head coach.