Saturday 22 October 2016

Toulouse triumph a key marker - Lam

Declan Rooney

Published 14/10/2016 | 02:30

Connacht head coach Pat Lam:
Connacht head coach Pat Lam: "We've been getting progressively better." Picture: Sportsfile

Connacht will hope to add an eighth Champions Cup win to their tally when they host Toulouse at the Sportsground tomorrow.

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Famously, one of those victories came away to Toulouse in 2013, but there have also been three defeats to the French giants along the way too, including in the first Heineken Cup game held at the Sportsground in 2011.

Connacht will be keen to improve their try ratio in the top European competition.

From their 18 Champions Cup games to date, Connacht have only registered 17 tries, while they have conceded a whopping 45.

Toulouse did defeat Connacht in the return fixture in Galway in 2013, but Lam reckons that win at Stade Ernest Wallon is still important three years on.

"I think the relevance was more for where we got to last year. It was an unbelievable team effort," said Lam. "I remember using clips on that defence, everyone's line speed, everyone making tackles, the way we executed our attack.

"Remember, we'd gotten smashed by Edinburgh the week before, 15 points in the last two minutes of the game. I remember going home then looking at the defence, and completely changing everything.

"Then we came out and did that. That was a real changing mark for me and the players, to say 'this works'.


"We were up and down before that, but that was our marker of what we can do, if we get it right.

"It motivated everyone, and we've been getting progressively better from then to where we are now."

Connacht have beaten French opposition at home in the Heineken Cup - a 22-14 win over Biarritz was a memorable night - but in the fifth meeting between the sides, the home side will look to add a second win over Toulouse to their tally.

Irish Independent

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