Lam: I want more guys to get call-up
Pat Lam says he wants to have as many Connacht players as possible representing Ireland - despite the knock-on effect it may have on his team as they lose key characters.
Both Leinster and Connacht will be shorn of some of their international contingent this weekend, and while most of the Connacht squad make the trip to Rodney Parade to take on Dragons next Friday, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane and Kieran Marmion will be plotting the All Blacks' downfall.
But Lam has embraced the challenge that having more internationals in his squad presents. Instead of struggling without some of their more experienced names, the coach expects his squad to take the chances that come their way.
According to Lam, it is not difficult for the province to cope, considering they knew all along when the games were taking place, and that his aim is to provide Joe Schmidt's side with as many players as possible.
"Obviously I'm very aligned with what Joe is trying to do, and all of us have a clear role for the IRFU," said Lam.
"Every year it's exactly the same - you prepare. You get the draw done, you know there is the November window, you know there is the Six Nations window.
"We want as many guys in there as we can. This is part of our purpose, which is why the retention of our squad and the signing of guys is massive.
"As we have shown on the weekend, some guys got their first opportunities and were outstanding - and competition really drives this squad.
"Guys are missing this week, we all know about it, but it's about how well you prepare. The international game is important, it's vital.
"All we are doing is trying to do our bit and get as many guys up there - and we still focus on our game," he said.