Sunday 18 February 2018

Lam urges fans to sound battle cry

Tiernan O’Halloran attempts to skip through the Treviso defence during Connacht’s victory in Italy
Tiernan O’Halloran attempts to skip through the Treviso defence during Connacht’s victory in Italy

Declan Rooney

Pat Lam has called on the Connacht supporters to roar his side to victory in their last home game of the season tomorrow against Ospreys (3pm).

The Sportsground has become a venue to fear for visiting teams this season with the home side going on a six-game unbeaten run there earlier this season, before Edinburgh, Ulster and Glasgow finally figured out how to silence the Clan Stand.

But the Connacht management team have drawn great solace from the fact that their side has defeated two other top-five teams - Munster and Leinster - at the venue this season, and they've set their sights on claiming a third against Ospreys tomorrow.

"I think any coach will tell you, if you have to go into a big one, you want to be at home and more so for us. It's great for our supporters," said Lam, who will hope to lead his side to a top-six finish with victory tomorrow.

"The players right back in our pre-season camp in France, they highlighted (playing well at) the Sportsground as a big goal because of the fans and the supporters we have.

"We know we don't have the biggest or best facilities or stadiums in comparison to the others, but we have an unbelievable atmosphere. And it's got us home in a couple of big games this year and I'm certainly looking forward to it this weekend."

With eight wins and a draw at the Sportsground this season in all competitions, Connacht have succeeded in making the College Road a more difficult destination for their opponents, but a ninth win is required if they are to automatically qualify for the Champions Cup.

Lam's troops currently trail Scarlets by four points in the standings and if they draw level with the Llanelli side with victory tomorrow, Connacht will qualify because of they'll have won more games.

If Scarlets lose and both Connacht and Edinburgh are tied on points, then points' difference will come into play - a statistic that Connacht are 39 points better than Edinburgh.

"We spoke about Ospreys, they're the number one side at the moment for a reason. They've got some quality players and British Lions and Welsh internationals.

"But when the pressure comes on, trusting your ability and trusting your teamwork is crucial," added Lam.

Irish Independent

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