Monday 22 January 2018

Lam backs O'Halloran's Ireland claims

Connacht head coach Pat Lam. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Connacht head coach Pat Lam. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Daragh Small

Connacht coach Pat Lam believes it's only a matter of time until his full-back Tiernan O'Halloran really makes the breakthrough at international level.

The 26-year-old full-back has scored two tries in three games for Ireland, but despite some brilliant displays for Connacht in the Pro12 and Champions Cup, he failed to feature in the Six Nations.

Rob Kearney was ruled out of the Six Nations finale with England last weekend, and Ulster full-back Jared Payne was chosen ahead of O'Halloran for that game. But Lam thinks O'Halloran's persistence will pay off, similar to that of scrum-half Kieran Marmion.

Marmion (25) only made his first start in the Six Nations last weekend because of an injury to Conor Murray. But Marmion starred on his 13th appearance for Ireland.

"Tiernan is talked about a lot because he is really on form for us. But at least he is in there," said Lam.

"He is in a far better place than all the other full-backs. While we might not see him out on the field at the moment, he is earning a lot of praise and Joe is really happy with the work that he has done.

"Joe is here for the next three years until the World Cup. All the boys can keep doing is building away because once you get in there, you can show what you do.

"I have no doubt that Tiernan will get his chance somewhere along the line if he keeps doing what he is doing.

"He has never let Ireland down when he has been there and he hasn't let them down in the training squad."

Irish Independent

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