Saturday 18 November 2017

'Mental break' can refresh Lam's men

Pat Lam is leaving Connacht
Pat Lam is leaving Connacht

Declan Rooney

Connacht coach Pat Lam is hopeful that he will see a return to his side's high standards tonight against Cardiff Blues after the Westerners "gave two games away" before the international break.

Losses at the hands of Leinster and Dragons sullied a positive run for the Pro12 champions before the Test window, and the Connacht coach thinks the return of so many injured players has boosted his squad's confidence this week.

Denis Buckley and Tom McCartney are fit again to boost the front-row options, while John Cooney and Matt Healy are among those ready to feature in the backs.

"Basically we were all pretty gutted that we gave two games away really. That is the way that we feel, it wasn't up to our standards," said Lam.

"But it also emphasised again that while we have structures and systems, it is still up to everyone fronting and executing.

"You can see the amount of guys coming back, there is now some pretty good competition. We had a good week off, which is a good mental break."

After the squad linked up again last week they spent a couple of days training in Connemara and Lam thinks it was a crucial exercise to introduce new players to the Connacht way.

"Last week was pretty full on, one of our toughest weeks since pre-season and we were able to get a lot of work done," he said.

"As well as getting out to Carraroe and Clifden and mingling with the community. I was really pleased, there was some tough work done. The biggest thing, we are all excited again to be home.

"All in all the break was extremely good; however it's giving us a build-up to this game, it doesn't guarantee us that we are going to get the right outcome on the Friday but it does give us a good chance."

Irish Independent

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