Monday 19 March 2018

Lam eager to avoid unwanted history

Connacht head coach Pat Lam. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Connacht head coach Pat Lam. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Daragh Small

Connacht are confident that they can avoid the history books against Zebre tomorrow and avoid a third successive defeat at the start of the season.

Only Ospreys have ever lost three times in a row as reigning Pro12 champions at the start of the new campaign, something they did on two occasions.

Ospreys claimed the Pro12 title in 2007 but lost 17-15 against Cardiff in the opening round of the following season - they subsequently lost 14-9 against Scarlets and 17-16 against Ulster.

Then in 2012 the Neath-Swansea side beat Leinster in the Grand Final. But they lost 12-6 away to Treviso on the first day of 2012-13and then succumbed to a 16-13 defeat against Ulster before Glasgow beat them 28-10.

Connacht have never lost against the Italians in the Pro12, but there will be nothing easy in Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.

The teams shared 85 points and ten tries when Connacht won over there last season but after Zebre's bonus-point 11-6 loss at Dragons last weekend, they are on the up.

And Lam has stressed that calmness will win through even when the pressure is on his side.

"These are the moments, as a leader, you need to lead well. It starts with the management and works its way down to the players," said Lam.  "This is why you build your culture, your system and your structures. My whole philosophy is about better people and better rugby people, these are the times you get that. 

"That's why I have joy; don't get me wrong, I'm not happy with where we're at, I'm disappointed. But I have joy that I know how to get out of this situation.

"And I know the learnings that will come from this."

Irish Independent

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