Thursday 22 March 2018

Lam warns Connacht of big Treviso threat

Pat Lam warns they will be in for a long day if they don’t handle the Treviso set-piece
Pat Lam warns they will be in for a long day if they don’t handle the Treviso set-piece

Daragh Small

Connacht coach Pat Lam has warned that Treviso have turned a corner as his side prepare for their crunch encounter with the Italians on Sunday.

Despite being second from bottom in the Pro12 standings Treviso put five tries past Cardiff last weekend in a 40-24 win at Stade Monigo.

And even with just three wins from 15 games, Lam feels that the Italians still pose threats from all over the pitch.

"Certainly the pack is one of their strengths but their nine and ten are good and they have Jayden Hayward from New Zealand," said Lam.

"They are running the show well, they have got some good width in the game. They scored a couple of fantastic tries against Cardiff and some of the other teams.

"It is like they got a new lease of life and they are enjoying moving the ball around on the back of some good work up front."

When these sides met in the reverse fixture on October 10, Connacht edged home 9-6. And with just seven games remaining, Lam knows his side need to keep on winning if they are to fulfil their ambitions of qualifying for next season's Champions Cup.

With Edinburgh losing to Ulster and Scarlets letting a 12-point lead slip to draw at home to Munster, Connacht are in pole position to take sixth spot but they will be taking nothing for granted as the race for a Champions Cup place intensifies.

"There are seven rounds to go. It is neck and neck and we said last week we had no safety net," said the New Zealander.

"We still don't have one and we performed a lot better but we talked about it, it's all about our performance.

"If you have a look at the tries Treviso scored against Cardiff they were pretty impressive, they created some good play.

"They play well when they get their tails up, they have quite a big forward pack and if you don't handle the set-piece then you are in for a long day.

"We need to bring the same intensity and more in our defence this week, certainly more like we did against Dragons than against Scarlets, otherwise it will be a tough day."

Connacht will be away for the next two games to Cardiff and Munster before entertaining Ulster on April 11.

Irish Independent

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