Sunday 11 December 2016

Sevens success bodes well for Connacht, insists McPhillips

Declan Rooney

Published 24/08/2015 | 02:30

'It was the flexibility of youngsters Peter Robb (Pictured), Ciaran Gaffney and James Connolly that surely caught Lam’s eye, and McPhillips see their eagerness to participate as a huge plus'
'It was the flexibility of youngsters Peter Robb (Pictured), Ciaran Gaffney and James Connolly that surely caught Lam’s eye, and McPhillips see their eagerness to participate as a huge plus'

Connacht Sevens coach Conor McPhillips says the willingness of senior squad members to adapt to a new game shows how keen they are to succeed with Pat Lam's team.

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Connacht finished as top Irish province in third place in the Limerick World Club Sevens, losing out to eventual winners Daveta of Fiji in the semi-finals.

McPhillips had an impressive squad to chose from - seven of the 12 have senior caps - while Heineken Cup medallist Fionn Carr stole the show with six tries.

But it was the flexibility of youngsters Peter Robb, Ciaran Gaffney and James Connolly that surely caught Lam's eye, and McPhillips see their eagerness to participate as a huge plus.

"We had a few senior guys with us," said McPhillips. "These guys have a chance at Sevens, but their goal is to get into the Connacht senior team and impress Pat Lam.

"From speaking to Pat, I know he was hugely impressed at how the boys have taken to something new. How quickly they have adapted just shows how much of a rugby brains these guys have, how willing they are to learn new things to get their chance with the senior team.

"We only came together at the start of the week, but we set the goal to go out and bring our own brand to the game. We stuck to our core values and it worked out."

Munster chose a less experienced squad, but their hunger in front of their home crowd at Thomond Park shone through and they just fell short of the win in the Plate final.

Sevens internationals Danny Wootton, Diarmaid McCarthy, Cian Aherne and Alan Bennie showed their experience of the code, and coach Colm McMahon was thrilled with the work rate of his side.

"All the teams we played have a tradition of Sevens," said McMahon. "But I think we made up for it with work rate, making good decisions and showing good skills. Maybe a lack of streetwise-ness caught us out in the end, but I'm proud. It was a very good learning experience."

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