Monday 25 September 2017

Lam refusing to take 'dangerous' Treviso for granted

-Connacht head coach Pat Lam
-Connacht head coach Pat Lam
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Connacht's impressive season to date has largely been predicated on their home form but two defeats in their last two games at the Sportsground has been a cause for concern.

Pat Lam's side, however, have not played at home in over six weeks which on the face of it, would give them sufficient time to get the two disappointing defeats out of their system.

Benetton Treviso are the visitors to Galway tomorrow and in normal circumstances would be the ideal opponents to get one's home form back on track but the Italians' hugely impressive win at home to Cardiff Blues last week has meant that Lam isn't taking them for granted.

"Treviso showed last week how dangerous they are with their impressive five-try win over Cardiff Blues," the coach said.

"They are always strong up front, but they've shown recently how effective they can be moving the ball out wide.

"We're going to have to bring it to another level again on Sunday, especially in defence," Lam added.

All Black centurion Mils Muliaina again misses out with a hamstring injury. Lam admitted that the full-back was very close to a return but that he decided not to risk him.

There are two changes to the side that beat the Dragons last weekend.

Tiernan O'Halloran starts at full-back - his first start of the season - while Niyi Adeolokun is named on the right wing to allow top try scorer Danie Poolman to move into outside centre. Craig Ronaldson starts at out-half.

"We're sitting in sixth place at the moment but like last week we still don't have a safety net, and we have to continue to perform as a team against Treviso," Lam stressed.

If Connacht are to qualify for the Champions Cup next season, winning home games against Treviso is crucial. They should have enough quality to do just that. Verdict: Connacht

Connacht - T O'Halloran; N Adelokun, D Poolman, D McSharry, M Healy; C Ronaldson, J Cooney; D Buckley, T McCartney, N White; Q Roux, A Muldowney; J Muldoon (c), J Heenan, E Masterson. Reps: S Delahunt, R Loughney, R Ah You, M Kearney, G Naoupu, I Porter, J Carty, C Finn.

Benetton Treviso - J Hayward; H Seniloli, A Pratichetti, S Christie, L Nitoglia; J Ambrosini, A Lucchese; M Zanusso, D Giazzon (c), R Harden; T Vallejos, M Swanepoel; N Cattina, D Budd, M Luamanu. Reps: A Anae, R Acosta, S Manu, C Van Zyl, P Derbyshire, A Saccardo, J Carlisle, F Menon.

REF - A McMenemy (SRU)

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