Saturday 1 October 2016

Lam looking for Scarlets boost

John Fallon

Published 29/01/2016 | 02:30

Pat Lam's men will be hoping for successive home wins over Scarlets for the first time since the 2011-'12 campaign. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Pat Lam's men will be hoping for successive home wins over Scarlets for the first time since the 2011-'12 campaign. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Matches between Connacht and Scarlets have tended to be high-scoring encounters.

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Connacht's 14-8 win at the Sportsground last season was the lowest scoring match in 25 league meetings between these sides.

And with leadership at the top of the Pro12 also on the agenda this time when they meet at the Sportsground, there should be an added edge.

Throw in the fact that Connacht, despite their recent wobbles, are the leading try scorers in the top half of the Pro12 this season - they have 28, while Cardiff in 9th have 31 having scored 11 against Zebre on the opening day - and it adds another dimension.

It should also be noted that Scarlets and Connacht, having conceded 24 tries each, are running at twice the concession rate to most of the teams in the top half.

All of that seems to point to another high-scoring clash at the Sportsground tomorrow as both look for a big boost to bring this marathon run of 16 games to a halt.

It's the second time they have met this month, with Scarlets edging home 21-19 in a dramatic finish at Parc y Scarlets, ensuring that revenge will be high on the Connacht agenda.

The Welsh hold the overall advantage in this contest, having won 17 of the 25 meetings, with Connacht winning seven and the sides finishing level once.

But the overall figure in the Sportsground is much tighter, with Connacht winning six and Scarlets doing likewise. Connacht's win last season ended Scarlets' hopes of a third victory in succession in Galway.

Pat Lam's men will be hoping for successive home wins over Scarlets for the first time since the 2011-'12 campaign.

Connacht's biggest win over Scarlets came in the 2005-'06 season when they triumphed 33-19 at the Sportsground.

The biggest win by Scarlets was 58-10 in 2009-'10, while their biggest triumph in Galway was a 37-15 success in 2006-'07, but coach Pat Lam believes they can get back to winning tight games.

"It's a big game, the momentum, the confidence. There was a lot of frustration in the games that we played. We certainly created a lot of opportunities that we just didn't finish. That was the thing, let's finish things off," he said.

Irish Independent

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