Tuesday 24 January 2017

Lam raises the bar after latest success

Connacht 30 Ospreys 22

Published 29/02/2016 | 02:30

Connacht's Sean O'Brien is tackled by Joe Bearman during the match against the Ospreys at Sportsground, Galway. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Connacht's Sean O'Brien is tackled by Joe Bearman during the match against the Ospreys at Sportsground, Galway. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Connacht's Aly Muldowney is tackled by Olly Cracknell during the match against the Ospreys, Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Connacht's Tiernan, O'Halloran is tackled by Ospreys player Owen Watkin. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Connacht head coach Pat Lam at the Sportsground, Galway. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Connacht coach Pat Lam said there is no danger of them losing the run of themselves despite topping the PRO12 table heading into the business end of the season.

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Connacht have never finished in the top half of the league but now seem set for the semi-finals. After this victory at the Sportsground, they head to Murrayfield next Friday and Lam stressed that game in Scotland, and nothing else, is all that is on their minds at this stage.

"We're back to the drawing board," he said. "We acknowledge what we've achieved, last year was we set a record with 50 points.

"We've broken that now with 54. Ten wins was the most wins, we've now broken that with 11 wins.

"In the past 54 points has been good enough for sixth place but now we've got to go and get 58 or 59 points."

Bundee Aki struck for the opening try after two minutes but while fly-half AJ MacGinty got their second in the opening quarter, Rhys Webb led the Ospreys' fightback and Connacht led just 17-15 at the break.

Matt Healy, a hat-trick hero in the win over Zebre, scored for the third game in a row as the competition top try scorer took his haul to nine.

Kieran Marmion denied Ospreys a late try by holding up Sam Davies in the tackle.

Connacht: T O'Halloran; N Adeolokun (D Poolman 63), B Aki, C Ronaldson (P Robb 76), M Healy; AJ MacGinty, C Blade (K Marmion 32); D Buckley (R Loughney 72), T McCartney (D Heffernan 73), R Ah You (F Bealham 58); B Marshall (D Qualter 41), A Muldowney; S O'Brien, J Heenan, G Naoupu (J Connolly 63).

Ospreys: D Evans; J Hassler, J Engelbrecht (O Watkin 8), J Matavesi, B John (E Walker 68); S Davies, R Webb (B Leonard 73); P James (G Thomas 65), S Parry (S Otten 63), D Arhip (A Jarvis 52); J King, R Thornton; J Bearman (R Bernardo 52), O Cracknell, D Baker.

Ref - George Clancy (IRFU)

Irish Independent

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