Lam arrives early to cast an eye on Connnacht

Galway turned on its best weather for incoming Connacht coach Pat Lam who arrived in the city on Monday evening.

“Just like Samoa,” said the 44-years-old New Zealander of Samoan descent, squinting into the sun for his first photoshoot at the Galway Sportsground yesterday.

Lam, who arrived in the Northern Hemisphere from New Zealand with his family, has been in England for the past two weeks visiting his old rugby haunts Newcastle and Northampton where he played in the 90s and where two of his five children were born. Lam’s early arrival will give him the opportunity to familiarise himself with the province before officially taking over from current Connacht hero Eric Elwood who steps down at the end of the season.

Connacht do not have any competitive game this week due to Heineken Cup quarter-finals, but the Connacht Eagles will be in action at the Galway Sportsground on Saturday (3pm ) against annual Russian visitors Enisei. Last weekend’s postponed fixture with Treviso due to a waterlogged pitch is expected to take place on Friday April 26 which would enable the team to return for the annual Connacht awards dinner the following evening.

This week Connacht signed three new youngsters. Former Jes and Corinthians’ backrow player Aaron Conneely has been promoted from the Academy to the senior squad on a one-year development contract, while Matt Healy has signed a one-year deal. The 24-year-old Ireland u-20 winger from Lansdowne RFC has been involved with the Connacht Eagles this season and won his first senior cap against Leinster in the Christmas interprovincial.

Another Lansdowne player to join next season is outhalf Craig Ronaldson. The leading points scorer in the Ulster Bank League, Ronaldson has signed a one year contract, joining Dan Parks, Miah Nikora, Jack Carty and Tadgh Leader. CEO Tom Sears said Ronaldson was a player Connacht had watched for some time. “He now has an opportunity to develop his undoubted talent and fulfil his potential."

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