Tuesday 27 September 2016

Jackman: Lam's men can do it

John Fallon

Published 15/04/2016 | 02:30

Rodney Ah You and Connacht head coach Pat Lam at squad training this week ahead of Munster’s visit to the Sportsground. Photo: Sportsfile
Rodney Ah You and Connacht head coach Pat Lam at squad training this week ahead of Munster’s visit to the Sportsground. Photo: Sportsfile

Grenoble coach Bernard Jackman has tipped Connacht for glory if they continue playing the free-flowing rugby which is rapidly making them the team of the season.

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Jackman, who had two spells with Connacht, said he was full of admiration for the style of rugby they are playing under Pat Lam and urged them not to change.

His side were pushed all the way before snatching last weekend's gripping 33-32 win in the European Challenge Cup at Stade des Alpes.

Jackman, with backs coach Mike Prendergast and team manager Andrew Farley - a former Connacht skipper - is now looking forward to a semi-final date with Harlequins next weekend.

But all three said they took no pleasure from the manner of the win, after welcoming close on 400 Connacht supporters to the city in the Alps last weekend. And Jackman said Connacht can regroup and have a right crack at the Pro12.

"If they get a home draw, they'll be very hard to beat, but if not, I saw them against Ulster and they played very well, they can do it," he said. "To come to France and play like that is not easy. It's not easy for a young team.

"What Connacht do is look for the where the space is. Even the try for Robbie Henshaw from the cross-field kick by Shane O'Leary, there's always space on a rugby field. You've just got to find it and execute, and unfortunately Connacht did execute, and we didn't.

"But in rugby there are key moments and there are different ways to win a match. We ground it out but again you have to say hats off to Connacht for all they put in."

Focus now switches to tomorrow's crucial clash with Munster, one of the most important games Connacht have ever played. They will be going for a first ever double over Munster, having won 18-12 at Thomond Park in November for their first win in Limerick in the professional era.

This will be the 28th league meeting between the sides, including a quarter-final clash in 2002-03, with Munster winning 23 of them, Connacht triumphing in three and there was one draw, when they were deadlocked 27-27 in Cork in 2003-04.

Connacht defeated Anthony Foley's men 24-16 in the corresponding fixture last season.

Irish Independent

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