Tuesday 12 December 2017

Lam warns players over criticism of referee

Connacht coach Pat Lam Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht coach Pat Lam Photo: Sportsfile

Daragh Small

Connacht coach Pat Lam has called on his players to control their tempers on the back of Bundee Aki's ban for verbally abusing a referee.

But the outgoing Connacht coach could land himself in hot water with Guinness Pro12 officials after stating there were 'pre-conceived ideas, both ways' as Welsh referee Ian Davies had officiated their games more than any other.

Two years ago Lam was fined €8,000 for making critical comments about Welsh referee Leighton Hodges.

Davies complained about Aki's behaviour and remarks directed toward him during and shortly after Connacht's recent defeat to Leinster at the Sportsground.

According to Lam, Connacht have been refereed by Davies more times this season than any other referee in his time in charge and he believes this has had an impact.

"There's no doubt, the refereeing job is a tough job, but like everyone we have to control our emotions. The unusual thing is, we have had Ian four or five times this season. We have had him more times than any referee in any season.

"So, frustration boiled over, I think everyone heard it and saw it with John Muldoon, and with the other players. He had to go through the process. I'm certainly disappointed on all parts of it. The thing with Bundee, when something happens like that, any citing it just goes over with Tim Allnutt (manager) and Willie Ruane (chief executive) and they deal with that.

"Willie will let me know when we get all the information (if we are going to appeal). Once all the information comes in, then they can have a look at it and we can make a decision from there."

Centre Aki (27) has played 59 times for the province and scored nine tries, but now he looks set to miss their Champions Cup play-off semi-final, as well as this weekend's closing Pro12 fixture against Munster.

Ireland international scrum-half Kieran Marmion is back fit for the game - Lam's last league game in charge - while Marnitz Boshoff, Cian Kelleher and Darragh Leader all came through the Scarlets loss unscathed.

But Eoin Griffin is a worry ahead of the trip to Thomond Park - he was involved in an incident with Welsh winger Liam Williams.

Williams, who is picked to tour with the British & Irish Lions this summer, dumped the Connacht centre to the floor, and Griffin is following return-to-play protocols.

Irish Independent

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