Sport Rugby

Friday 23 March 2018

Lam forced to pull plug on training as virus decimates squad

Pat Lam
Pat Lam
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

CONNACHT's preparations for tomorrow's sell-out clash with Toulouse have been hit by a virus that has struck down 12 players, forcing coach Pat Lam to cancel training yesterday.

The former Samoa star hopes the illness passes quickly as he looks to take his team through their final preparations for the second clash with the French giants in six days.

The illness is a major a blow as the province look to back up their historic win at the Stade Ernest Wallon last Sunday.

"It's not ideal, but you can only control what you can control," Lam told Galway Bay FM.

"We have 48 hours before the game and hopefully some antibiotics will work and we'll get as many guys back on the track for the game as possible.

"We'll get them together and talk through things, but it is difficult to get everyone up.

"We have done a lot of training, we understand what we have to do. We knew we had a six-day turnaround and we don't have the same sort of squad as a lot of other teams.

"So, we were making sure we had enough petrol in the tank and, from there, tick off boxes. It means we have to do it differently and make sure we get as many fit guys out there on Saturday night."

Lam also revealed that winger Tiernan O'Halloran suffered a recurrence of his knee injury in training on Tuesday and would miss the game.

Gavin Duffy is determined to prove that last weekend's win was more than a flash in the pan and wants the squad to back up their shock victory at the Sportsground tomorrow despite the vast disparity of resources between the clubs.

"That was the best win we have ever had and you could argue it was the best away win ever in the Heineken Cup when you consider the difference in resources," he said.

"We have made huge gains in the past few years but when you see the vast gap in resources between two clubs, then it must surely be one of the best away wins ever in the competition.

"When we get it right we are very good, and against Toulouse we concentrated on what we could do well and built it from there and we grew in confidence.

"We know it is going to be very difficult this weekend but we are determined to back it up and show we can do it two weeks in a row."

Duffy said that the chance to put back-to-back wins over top-class opposition was driving the squad.

"We don't get too high after wins nor too low after defeats. We know what we need to do this weekend.

"There is a realisation there that Toulouse will be hurting after last Sunday. But we feel we can improve and we are determined to back up Sunday's win and show it wasn't a once-off.

"Over the years Connacht have produced some big results but did not do it week after week. We want to be different and do it week after week. We are under no illusions but we know we can do it."

Irish Independent

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