Fresh out of celebrations for winning the GK IPA Championship title in his first year as manager, the Bristol coach will be heading up the Barbarian opposition for their 3 game summer tour against England in June.
Lam is no stranger to the Barbarians team, ending his career on a high with a 40-25 victory against Wales in 2002. The former number 8 said he was looking forward to returning to the team in this new role, after creating so many memories in the infamous Black and White uniform.
“It’s a great memory so to be asked to be involved again and to coach the Barbarians is a real privilege – I’m really looking forward to it,” Lam said.
“I played the game as an amateur and then as a professional and in the Barbarians you get a touch of both. It’s got that old school charm where you spend time building friendships, enjoying what you do on the field and off it, and the quality of players and people you were involved with was great.”
Despite his optimistic outlook on the tournament, Lam is not naïve about who he is facing. England may have had a disappointing Six Nations, trailing behind Ireland, Wales, Scotland and France, but there is no denying the talent in the current England squad, and the impressive record of coach Eddie Jones in the role.
The Australian has experience of this kind of match-up himself, having guided co-captains Chris Robshaw and George Ford’s team to a decisive 28-14 victory over the Barbarians. Lam remains hopeful however, framing his strategy as one of team cohesion.
“We’ll have to look at who’s going to be available, but the Barbarians ethos is to bring players together, make sure they get on the same page and to give them the chance to express their talent.”
In a break from 2017s Kiwi heavy squad, a veritable ‘who’s who’ of New Zealand rugby, Lam appears to be casting a wider net for players, looking to France, the Pro14 and the Premiership for the best talent available to tackle the English side.
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