Saturday 16 December 2017

Lam keen to clip Dragons' wings

Pat Lam has warned that Dragons will present a tough challenge for Connacht
Pat Lam has warned that Dragons will present a tough challenge for Connacht

John Fallon

Connacht will be hoping to extend their excellent record against Dragons at the Sportsground, including a 100pc win rate on the three occasions that they have met on the opening day of the season.

This will be the 27th meeting between the sides in the Pro12, with Connacht coming out on top in 17 of those meetings.

They have met 13 times at the Sportsground and Connacht have won all bar one of those encounters. Dragons have won eight of the 13 clashes at Rodney Parade and there has never been a draw between these two.

All three meetings on the opening weekend of the season between these sides have been at the Sportsground and Connacht have won each time.

Last season Pat Lam's men scored a 16-11 win to get their campaign up and running, while five years ago Connacht's biggest win over the Dragons came when they won 40-17. The only other clash on the opening weekend was in 2007 when Connacht secured a 22-7 win.

But Lam has warned that Dragons will present a tough challenge this evening and he knows it will require a big performance to maintain their opening-day dominance over the Newport side.

"They have made a lot of signings. They have some big players in," he said. "Sarel Pretorious has come across from Super Rugby, and he's a quality player.

"One thing about the Dragons is that you have to win the physical battle. Some of the games against them have been pretty close and they were won up front.

"They are certainly a strong side and we have to be on the money both mentally and physically. I'm confident that the preparation that we've put in has been superb.

"Looking at the boys, they are bigger, stronger and faster," added Lam.

Dragons' only win in Galway came in the 2003-04 campaign when they won 32-14.

That was the only season they did the double over Connacht, winning 28-19 at Rodney Parade.

Connacht have done the double over Dragons in each of the last two seasons, backing up the opening-day win a year ago with a 30-25 triumph in Wales.

The previous season Connacht won 14-11 at the Sportsground and then secured a 24-8 win in south Wales.

Irish Independent

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