Saturday 20 January 2018

Eagles learning tough lessons

Connacht Eagles head coach Mossy Lawler. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
Connacht Eagles head coach Mossy Lawler. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile

Daragh Small

Connacht Eagles coach Mossy Lawler says it doesn't get any easier as the Eagles go in search of their first win in the B&I Cup against Cornish Pirates tomorrow.

They travel to take on the English Championship side on the back of their fifth defeat from five outings, against London Irish at Dubarry Park last weekend.

Now Lawler's men turn up at Mennaye Field, bottom of Pool 3 with just one losing bonus point from their campaign.

They were hammered 41-14 in Athlone last Saturday, and Lawler thinks it will be a similar forward-orientated challenge offered up by the Pirates.

"We expect another physical encounter. It's another big championship threat," said Lawler.

"They have a big scrum and maul. They will scrum for penalties, if they win those they kick to the corner and try to maul you over your line. That will be their go to. It's something we work on, but it's hard to train against when you see the size of those guys."

The Pirates are fifth in the English Championship and beat the Eagles 23-10 in October, but Lawler says games like these are crucial to the development of the Connacht academy.

Last weekend against London Irish his troops experienced a tough day at the office with a heavy defeat at Dubarry Park, but the learning experience of battling against seasoned Championship sides is vital to their progression, says the Connacht coach.

"It would be easy for us to pull out of this tournament or not show up for A games," he said.

"But we believe in blooding our young guys, throwing them in and seeing can they perform against these guys.

"The big learnings is that they come away and realise what they have to do to be a professional and the level they must get to."

Irish Independent

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