Tuesday 26 September 2017

Lam eager to find out who's up next

Connacht coach Pat Lam Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht coach Pat Lam Photo: Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Connacht coach Pat Lam will be an interested viewer of tonight's Challenge Cup final between Gloucester and Stade Francais, armed with the knowledge that a win for the English Premiership outfit will see Connacht making the trip to Kingsholm next weekend.

Should Gloucester fail to beat the Parisians, Connacht will instead take on Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens in their Champions Cup play-off either on Friday, Saturday or Sunday next week.

Lam is a former Heineken Cup winner with Saints and has never managed a side against them, but he is very familiar with trips to Gloucester, most recently in a similar play-off two seasons ago, when extra-time was required to separate the teams. Whatever the opposition it will be a tricky tie, he says.

"It doesn't matter. Our main thing is making sure that we are right," said Lam.

"We had a 100-minute game there (in Kingsholm) last time. It was a great game, we were on the wrong end of it. It's something that we can look forward to.

"It would be a massive carrot to get another game at the Sportsground, which would be good because our last game wasn't great."

But it all hinges on tonight's European decider at Murrayfield (8.0) and the Connacht coach knows anything is possible when silverware is up for grabs.

"You never know because it's a final. They are playing Stade Francais. And there is a great carrot for Stade Francais too.

"If Stade Francais win, when you look at the congestion of the Top14 that's the easy route straight away to get that play-off just in case they don't secure their top six place.

"It's the same with Gloucester. That's a one-off. It will be a good final and we will have to wait to know."

Irish Independent

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