Saturday 21 September 2019

Pack keen to kick on but Lam keeps faith in Carty

Pat Lam. Photo: Sportsfile
Pat Lam. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

Connacht coach Pat Lam has told his forwards to stick to the day job and stop trying to be wannabe place-kickers.

Connacht have a potential crisis on their hands with Jack Carty their only fit out-half and recognised goal-kicker. Lam has to find cover within the squad and while Rory Parata, a try scorer when introduced against Wasps on Sunday, is an obvious back-up, plenty of others have been stepping forward.

But Lam has been having none of them and told them to stop practising - because they were injuring themselves trying to impress! And even some of the forwards have been having a go in training, but Lam is unimpressed.

"No, they tried, I just ignore them," said Lam, when asked if there might be a secret kicking weapon among the pack.

It was noticeable at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday that Carty was the only Connacht player practising goal-kicking before the game, but while Bundee Aki and Tiernan O'Halloran may provide emergency cover, Lam wants his all men to stick to what they are good at. "There's a few of them that tried to put their hand up, Bundee was keen, Tiernan said he would step up. I just said, 'None of you practise, don't practise'. Because the last time we were in this situation last year they all went practising kicking.

"They are not normally kickers and they all got injured. So I said no one practise, it will only be conversions, get a penalty put it in the corner."

Lam said that Carty, who landed three from six on Sunday, has been working hard on his kicking and he was confident he would deliver in tomorrow's crucial clash at the Sportsground against a Wasps side who took all five points in the 32-17 win in Coventry on Sunday.

"Jack put it straight away, errors he said he wanted to fix. There is always a lot of pressure on the goal-kickers but the main thing is getting out and doing the work and trying to improve. Jack is the only recognised kicker still standing and he is doing a lot of work.

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"But there are learnings for us in the classroom on a number of things this week and that's what we have been working on," added Lam as he bids to get Connacht back on track and qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions Cup for the first time.

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