Tuesday 21 February 2017

Lam wary of 'wily operators' in Wales

Declan Rooney

Published 04/11/2016 | 02:30

Pat Lam head coach of Connacht during squad training at The Sportsground in Galway. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Pat Lam head coach of Connacht during squad training at The Sportsground in Galway. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Connacht have won on their last three trips to Newport, but coach Pat Lam is wary of Kingsley Jones' side, who have recently found their scoring touch.

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Dragons have not won a Pro12 game since their Round 2 victory over Zebre, but since then they have run Munster very close at Rodney Parade, and also ran in four tries against Scarlets in a Welsh derby.

A Challenge Cup defeat away to Enisei-STM in Trud Stadium - north east of the Kazakhstani border - was another blip on their record, but throughout the campaign Dragons have looked lively in attack.

Dragons have scored the same number of tries as Connacht this season (12), but Lam and his troops will be confident of just a third win in the league when the sides clash for the first time this season.

"It's always a tough game, it's never one you want to be a shoot-out. Even when we get the bonus point, it's a hard-earned win," said Lam.

"But one of the biggest areas for us has always been the breakdown. The breakdown is a key part of it because they have some wily operators in their team."

Last week in the RDS Connacht were plagued by a series of forced and unforced errors, and Lam was most annoyed by the self-inflicted mistakes.

"We always look at what we can control and there is no doubt the pressure they put on us was there," he said.

"But how did we give them the opportunity? A lot of it was our own error and collectively we have to take responsibility for that.

"It's a good one for us, because there is no doubt on the weekend was a mental disappointment. When you make too many mistakes it's all upstairs.

"We have a challenge on us and the breakdown is a mental challenge."

Irish Independent

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