Saturday 20 January 2018

Lam relishing marathon 'challenge'

Pat Lam's men are hoping to start a 16-match run of games with a win
Pat Lam's men are hoping to start a 16-match run of games with a win

John Fallon

Connacht will aim to maintain their 100pc record against Zebre at the Sportsground this evening, when Pat Lam's men will bid to start a 16-match run of games with a win.

Connacht have won all six league meetings with Zebre and another victory this evening would be the perfect start to a run of ten games in the Pro12 and six in Europe between now and the end of January.

Lam said that Connacht will divide the marathon run of games into blocks as they try to deal with an unprecedented sequence of matches.

And with games also due for the Eagles in the B&I Cup and inter-pros, Lam and the other coaches will need to manage resources over the next four months.

"We spoke about it at our team meeting. Exciting times now, at the end of the day we are all in the game to play the game," said Lam.

"We know it is a challenge but it is one that we have to embrace and the challenge is to make every day, every training session, every meeting, everything that we do - make it a winner.

"There is a big management process around it. You are trying out a plan, and also where guys can get opportunities in games. We are going to see more of each other than we will our families so we have got to manage that time."

The impressive start to the season has boosted confidence at the Sportsground and Lam said the first block of games will centre around the Pro12 matches against Zebre, Ospreys, Edinburgh and Treviso before they open their Challenge Cup campaign.

"There are four games before Europe. We have now got three home games and one away game. So we look at those first and then we go into two games in Europe. That is as far as we have gone But now it is just all about Zebre, and getting the win here at home," added Lam.

Connacht scored a record win in the corresponding figure last season when they won 43-3. But it was closer in the two preceding seasons, with Connacht winning 25-16 in 2013-14 and 23-19 the previous season.

Connacht have won all three league games in Italy decisively, scoring a 40-10 win last season, having triumphed 27-19 and 30-17 in the previous two years in Parma since Zebre took over from the defunct Aironi outfit.

Irish Independent

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