Thursday 22 February 2018

Lam demanding rapid response

Connacht head coach Pat Lam:
Connacht head coach Pat Lam: "Our mental preparation is vital." Picture: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

After two impressive Champions Cup wins, Connacht had the wind taken out of their sails by Leinster and the defending champions can ill afford another slip-up away to the Dragons this evening (7.15 kick-off).

Connacht were surprisingly well off the pace at the RDS last weekend with Pat Lam left to rue some sloppy errors.

Even at this early stage, the Westerners are already 16 points off the pacesetters (albeit with a game in hand) and they must find their way.

Last season, Connacht generally coped well with the international windows and Lam will be demanding more of the same this time around.

Bundee Aki is recalled to the starting XV after recovering from a calf problem while Stacey Ili makes his first Pro12 start in a Connacht shirt.

"Our mental preparation is vital," Lam insisted. "It's the last game before a two-week break in fixtures so, as a group, we are determined to right the wrongs from a disappointing performance last time out."

Verdict: Connacht

Newport Gwent Dragons - T Prydie; P Howard, S Beard, J Dixon, Ashton Hewitt; A O'Brien, Sarel Pretorius; P Price, T R Thomas, B Harris; N Crosswell, R Landman; L Evans (capt), O Griffiths, E Jackson. Reps: R Buckley, S Hobbs, L Fairbrother, M Screech, N Cudd, T Knoyle, G R Jones, A Warren.

Connacht - T O'Halloran; N Adeolokun, B Aki, R Robb, S Ili; J Carty, C Blade; JP Cooney, S Delahunt, C Carey; Q Roux, A Browne; E McKeon, J Heenan, J Muldoon (capt). Reps: D Heffernan, S Meunargia, D Robertson-McCoy, J Cannon, J Connolly, C McKeon, S O'Leary, C Kellever.

Ref - G Clancy (IRFU)

Irish Independent

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