Bradley and the Blues

Former Connacht coach Michael Bradley is being touted as a possible coach of New Zealand Super 14 side the Blues.

According to media reports in the Auckland-based New Zealand Herald, the Blues may be considering an application for their vacant assistant coaching position from Michael Bradley.

The reports states that a number of overseas-based applicants have made contact, hoping to work as Pat Lam's assistant. The role was held for the last two years by Shane Howarth, who also played with the Newport Gwent Dragons for a number of years. It is understood Howarth is a casualty of the Blue’s seventh place finish in last season’s Super 14.

The Blues, in advertising the vacancy, require an assistant who will be responsible for back play (attack and defence ); kicking strategy; and skill development - a role “suitable for a coach with experience at provincial union, franchise or similar level”.

The New Zealand Herald reports that Bradley had been coach of Ireland’s “smallest province”, where Warren Gatland also “cut his teeth”. They describe the province as “ one of the great over-achievers of world rugby, competing in the Magners League alongside the better resourced Leinster and Munster as well as the likes of Cardiff, Edinburgh and the Scarlets”.

• Connacht Rugby swap the facilities of the Galway Sportsground for something a little different this week when they head to the Aran Islands for a three-day training programme. The squad, which assembled two weeks ago, headed out yesterday morning by boat to Inis Mór where they will complete full training sessions, in addition to taking in the island’s cultural highlights, including a photo-shoot at Dún Aonghasa. For the likes of Ray Ofisa and Niva Ta’auso, who hail from Samoa in the South Pacific, it will be a chance to acquaint themselves with island life in the northern hemisphere. This is one of a number of sessions Connacht are undertaking this season at different venues throughout the province.

• Connacht’s Nigel Carolan and Munster academy coach Ken O’Connell are to take charge of the Connacht-Munster selection that plays in the historic first game in the new Aviva Stadium on July 31. The O2 Challenge match will be played between two composite teams of young players from the Irish provinces with a Leinster-Ulster team playing a Connacht-Munster selection. Leinster and Ulster were the first representative teams to play in the old Lansdowne Road nearly 133 years ago on 16 December 1876. Connacht players named in the squad are: Callum Boland, Shane Leydon, Aaron Conneely, Mark Dolan, Tadhg Leader, Eoin McKeon, Danny Qualter, Aaron Spring, and Sean Wooton.


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