Wednesday 20 November 2019

Lam's men set to smash records

Connacht’s Caolin Blade puts his best foot forward during training in Galway DIARMUID GREENE/SPORTSFILE
Connacht’s Caolin Blade puts his best foot forward during training in Galway DIARMUID GREENE/SPORTSFILE

John Fallon

Tiernan O'Halloran has urged Connacht to build on last week's stunning win and notch a second success in a row on Welsh soil when they take on Cardiff Blues in the Arms Park this evening.

The 53-5 victory over Benetton Treviso on Sunday was Connacht's biggest win of the season and ranks as their second largest victory since the league started in 2001.

The win over Dragons in Newport two weeks ago got their top six hopes back on track and they backed that up with Sunday's seven-try rout of the Italians.

The Westerners' previous biggest win this season also came against Italian opposition when they defeated Zebre 43-3 at the Sportsground in November.

Their all-time record league win came in the first season of the competition when they beat Caerphilly 62-0.

Pat Lam's men are on course for a historic top six finish which would see them qualify for the Champions Cup for the first time.

It will also be the first time that they have qualified for European's premier competition off their own bat, having got into the Heineken Cup three times on the back of Leinster's successes.

Connacht are also in line to accumulate a record number of match points in a season. At present they have 42 points from 16 games, with six more to be played.

Their record points haul is 44 points which they garnered from 22 games when finishing ninth in the 2003-04 season.

Head coach Lam knows that they face a difficult run-in and that every point will be hard-earned, but he is pleased with the attitude his men have shown in what has been a successful season so far.

O'Halloran, who starts on the wing tonight, said that the key now was to finish the campaign strongly and back up all the good work that has been carried out.

"The main is kind of building momentum. We've had two good wins on the bounce and this week's game, with the short turnaround, is massive for us before the break," said O'Halloran, who scored the opening try against Treviso on Sunday.

"It's very important for us now to really target this Cardiff away game and then push that top six spot."

Irish Independent

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