Sunday 25 September 2016

'Ultimate final' will be Connacht's toughest challenge yet insists Lam

Published 25/05/2016 | 02:30

Pat Lam has billed Saturday's Guinness Pro12 showpiece against Leinster as the 'ultimate final'. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Pat Lam has billed Saturday's Guinness Pro12 showpiece against Leinster as the 'ultimate final'. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Pat Lam has billed Saturday's Guinness Pro12 showpiece against Leinster as the "ultimate final" for Connacht and the Samoan believes his side can lift the trophy at Murrayfield.

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The Westerners travel to Edinburgh tomorrow ahead of the first final in their history and face Leo Cullen's international-packed side who are firm favourites to claim the title.

While the three-time European champions are well used to the big occasion, this is a new experience for most of Lam's players and he wants them to cherish the moment and take the chance. But he is clear on the size of the task at hand.

"Without a doubt, it is the ultimate final for us," said Lam (right). "If you pick one team that we'd say would be the toughest challenge, it's Leinster. Because we know them so well, and where a lot of those player are, a lot of our players aspire to be.

"They set the benchmark. If you want to test yourself against the best - and we talk to the boys constantly about their rugby education and playing at that highest level - here's a chance to test ourselves as a team against one of the best in Europe over the last 10 years."

Lam has no fresh injury worries after his side overcame champions Glasgow Warriors in Saturday's semi-final. Danie Poolman is back in contention, while Bundee Aki is available despite the knee problems that meant he almost missed last weekend's game.

Nigel Owens has been selected as the man to referee Saturday's final as part of an all-Welsh team of officials.

Irish Independent

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