Wednesday 18 October 2017

Lam's men set Fair for cash boost

Connacht will put any Fairplay windfall they get into their youth development programme which produced the likes of Robbie Henshaw
Connacht will put any Fairplay windfall they get into their youth development programme which produced the likes of Robbie Henshaw

Declan Rooney

Connacht could be in line for a massive cash boost if they can continue to keep out of trouble on the field.

With three Pro12 games remaining this season, Pat Lam's side sit joint top of the league's Fairplay standings alongside Leinster. A yellow card for Ben Te'o last weekend means that the eastern province have slipped back to join Connacht on eight fair play points.

Should Connacht edge clear of Leinster by the end of the season and fend off third-placed Ospreys (ten points), they will claim the £10,000 prize on offer.

If Connacht maintain their current standards and stay on top of the standings, the award will be set aside to fund their youth development programme.

Points are handed out to teams who fall foul of referees and assessors on match-day, with one point going against a team for each yellow card, three points for each red card, and another three demerits for an upheld citing complaint that results in a suspension.

Connacht's eight points have come from eight yellow cards picked up in the 19 Pro12 games played so far, the last of which came against Cardiff Blues when second-row Mick Kearney was sin-binned.

By a distance on 26 points, the league's worst offenders are Ulster, who have picked up eight yellow cards, two reds and four proved citings.

Leinster, in contrast, must also be applauded for attracting just five cards.

Zebre are the Pro12's most carded team with 21 yellows - on average more than one per game - while Treviso also linger near the bottom with 15 yellows and two reds.

Traditionally a well disciplined side, the Fairplay League is a table that Connacht perform well in.

Last season they were joint winners of the award with Ulster on 11 points, but they trailed in behind Leinster and Cardiff Blues the previous season.

Under the stewardship of Nigel Carolan, the Connacht Academy has continued to see talented athletes graduate into the senior squad.

A cash injection of £10,000 would be a massive assistance in finding the next batch of Robbie Henshaws, Ultan Dillanes and Kieran Marmions.

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