Saturday 21 October 2017

'Delirium' awaits if Lam's Connacht can get job done

Connacht head coach Pat Lam. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Connacht head coach Pat Lam. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

In the immediate aftermath of Connacht's stunning win over Toulouse last October, the picture that John Muldoon painted of the goings-on inside the dressing room was one of absolute calm.

Pat Lam has branded the return in France this weekend as "the biggest game in Connacht's history" but there are plenty who would disagree and point to the Pro12 final in Edinburgh when the Western province won their first-ever trophy.

Should Connacht pull off another famous result in Toulouse and seal their quarter-final place, the scenes are unlikely to be as relaxed as they were in the Sportsground.

Secure The permutations are typically convoluted but the following four scenarios would all be enough for Lam's men to play in the knockout stages: A bonus-point win; if they claim a losing bonus point whilst denying Toulouse a bonus point win; if they secure both losing and try bonus points; or, simply, a draw.

It was Connacht's expansive game-plan that caused Toulouse so many problems in Galway and Lam is likely to implement similar tactics in order to shift the French side's heavy pack around the pitch.

The Stade Ernest Wallon is no longer the fearsome venue it once was and Connacht can draw plenty of hope from their win there in 2013. The likes of Muldoon, Kieran Marmion and Craig Ronaldson will be hammering that home all week.

Connacht have never played in a Champions Cup quarter-final and even with the plethora of injuries that they have had to deal with, there is a quiet confidence around the squad.

"I've been in a changing-room when you'd maybe beat a team not with the same tradition and there'd be absolute delirium," Muldoon said three months ago.

Should they get the job done on Sunday, 'delirium' is certain to follow once again.

Irish Independent

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