Sunday 28 May 2017

Connacht players in demand ahead of semi-final

Balancing act: Pat Lam will want his squad to enjoy the occasion, without letting it get to them. David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Balancing act: Pat Lam will want his squad to enjoy the occasion, without letting it get to them. David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

The ticket rush has begun in Galway where places at the Guinness Pro12 semi-final against Glasgow Warriors on Saturday week are at a premium.

It is the province's first time to reach the final four and for the players it is a new experience as they try and prepare for the one-off meeting with the champions, while also trying to ensure that their loved ones can get to see them.

It's a balancing act for coach Pat Lam who wants his squad to enjoy the occasion, without letting it get to them. Centre Peter Robb says he's inundated with requests, but says it won't affect preparations.

"Plenty, loads," he replied when asked if he's had many requests. "There's an element of having to shut it out, obviously I'll look after my close family and get it done early so there's not a last-minute rush for it. I don't think people understand that we only get a couple of tickets ourselves! We can't please everyone.

"There's a real feeling that we're one game away from big things. It's a semi-final, a once-off game, and we've no doubt they're going to come twice as strong as they were last week. We'll get our preparation done properly, as we do for any other game and go into it with a bit of confidence."

Robb was speaking at the launch of next August's Generation X conference, which will see leading figures in the game passing on their expertise to players aged between 13 and 17.

He is one of those players fighting for a coveted place in the match-day 23 for the big day at the end of his breakthrough season. His way into the team is blocked by Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw, but Robb feels he has learned a lot from the star names in the Connacht centre.

"They're top-class, so it's nice to get a few tips off them now and again," he said. "Bundee's very enthusiastic and even on the training ground he brings a bit of edge, it's good for pushing everyone forward because it brings out 100pc in everyone."

Irish Independent

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