Thursday 22 March 2018

Lam: Let's paint the province green

Connacht’s John Muldoon and Bundee Aki during training at the Sportsground. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Connacht’s John Muldoon and Bundee Aki during training at the Sportsground. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Connacht coach Pat Lam has urged fans to paint the region green as they bid to reach the first final in the province's 131-year history.

And in a week when Connacht laid out their strategic plan for the next four years, which includes the development of a 10,000-capacity stadium, Lam said this was an exciting time for rugby in the province.

"There are flags everywhere, jerseys everywhere, everyone's going green," said the Connacht coach.

"The fans know they've been part of this journey the whole way through, and we've been so pleased to get a home semi because it is a magical place here."

The demand for tickets has, for the fourth game in a row, outstripped supply but Lam urged fans who can't get tickets to make sure they are still part of the occasion.

'If you're not at the ground, have a barbecue and just build up. Have people around and enjoy the occasion. We know what we represent."

He is trying to plot the downfall of the champions for the second time in a fortnight and book a place in next Saturday's final against either Leinster or Ulster at Murrayfield.

Glasgow, who surrendered a nine-match winning run when Connacht defeated them 14-7 at the Sportsground, are attempting to reach their third final in a row.

Connacht are bidding to become the tenth side to reach the league final, with six different clubs winning the 14 finals to date.

Leinster hold the record for most appearances, having contested eight deciders. They won four of those, the same number of times Ospreys have been champions, with the Swansea side enjoying a 100pc record in deciders.

Munster have made it to six finals, winning three, which means that eleven of the 14 crowns have been won by just three teams.

Ulster won one of their three finals, Llanelli Scarlets were victorious in their only final appearance and Glasgow won it last season having been defeated in their maiden decider a year earlier.

Cardiff lost both of their finals - in successive years in 2007 and '08 - while Neath (2003) and Edinburgh (2009) went down in their only appearances in the title decider.



Time to usurp the status quo with a victory that will lay down a marker


Irish Independent

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