Saturday 21 September 2019

'We never look at record' - Pat Lam confident ahead of Thomond visit despite lengthy casualty list

Pat Lam's Connacht side sit top the top of the PRO12
Pat Lam's Connacht side sit top the top of the PRO12
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Connacht coach Pat Lam says their poor record at Thomond Park won’t count against his table toppers ahead of their clash with second-placed Munster on Saturday.

The former Samoa international is counting the cost of a heavy schedule as he ruled out a host of players for the trip to Limerick as he awaits scan results on knee-ligament victim Nepia Fox-Matamua. Eoin McKeon, Dave McSharry and Andrew Browne are concussed and are unlikely to feature, while John Cooney will be out for three months.

However, he can recall flying winger Matt Healy for the top of the table meeting and is confident his side can cope if they stick to their processes.

“I think we never look at records, what we look at is the opportunity we have this week. There's four points on the line, it's another game, an opportunity to play as a team,” he said.

“We go with a lot of confidence, we understand it's always been a tough fixture for us. Munster's had a week off, they're pretty fresh. So, everything we do is about playing rugby come Saturday, about playing the match. We're looking forward to that.

“The outcome will be determined by the work that we do every day here. We had a good day yesterday, a good review, the boys just put in a pretty tough unit session and we've another one this afternoon.

“The confidence comes from the work we do, day in, day out in the Sportsground.”

Lam accepts that the casualty list will be problematic, but says the young guns can step up.

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“Obviously, it's not ideal,” he said. “You want a full complement to select from, but the thing that I'm pleased with is the way that we have trained as a squad. We incorporate it. We knew we'd a strong squad to choose from, we've seven or eight academy boys who have trained with us from day one in June. Just to boost the squad and make sure they understand what we're about.

“The way that everyone's played, it's not the individual. It's the way the individual is doing their job. That's the important thing.

“We have real clarity about we play as a team, the boys have clarity about the job so they can just go and perform.

“So, it's certainly made it a lot easier. When you lose someone like Jake Heenan, someone like Nepia Fox-Matamua; but then young James Connolly played well in the jersey. Eoghan Masterston's played well. So, as long as guys are performing it makes things much easier.

“Harder in one way, when everyone's available, but when guys get injured everyone has faith and confidence that the next guy will come in and do the job.”

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