Pat Lam describes how attending the wake of Anthony Foley impacted his decision to leave Connacht

He will join Bristol at the end of the season

BY Newstalk 18:07 Wednesday 7 December 2016, 18:07 7 Dec 2016

Image: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson 

Pat Lam's decision to leave Connacht at the end of the season on Monday morning came as a shock to the Irish rugby community.

On Wednesday afternoon, the New Zealand native had the opportunity to discuss his decision with the media and explained how attending the wake of his friend and colleague Anthony Foley influenced his decision to make the move across the water.

"In my whole process I look at my rugby career because I am responsible for my family too," he said in a lengthy statement this afternoon.

"Are you OK to go to Galway? Are you OK to go to Newcastle? And when I came back after speaking with Bristol, I sat with my wife and we put it all on the table and we said: No. We are happy here. We love what's going on in the west of Ireland, we love everything that's in place here. I know we're never going to be here for ever, but the bottom line is it was a no.

"Two weeks ago, Bristol put an offer down - and it was quite a significant offer - for me to do what I've done here at Connacht. That was part of the conversation, when they looked from there to here of what. 

They pretty much said: can you come here and do what you did in Connacht and do it here at Bristol. That completely flipped my whole decision making, and I'll tell you why it flipped it the other way around from my rugby career to my family.

"The reason why it did is that when I went down to Killaloo to see my good friend Axel at his removal and I saw Olive and saw I saw the two kids...

"Axel was in that same environment that we all are as head coaches, and with all the challenges of that. But when I saw him there and found out what happened, and we were so close because we are in the same situation, I could picture everything because I'm in that situation myself.

"I am the second Pat Lam on this earth. The first one was the man I was named after, my grandfather, and he died of a heart attack at the age of 55, when I was nine.

"My father, through this whole process, shouldn’t have been here, but thanks to technology he was going through a quadruple bypass. I have heart issues anyway. But what it did for me is, when I left all Killaloe with Willie and Tim, all I could think about was if that was me, what would happen to Steph and the kids."

An emotional Pat Lam at today's press conference. Image: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson 

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