Saturday 25 November 2017

Pat Lam urges squad to focus as financial worries build

Pat Lam
Pat Lam

New Connacht coach Pat Lam insists that the players and management are concentrating on their game against Cardiff Blues on Friday evening and not getting caught up in the financial problems with the province which were disclosed this week.

The IRFU confirmed on Monday that Connacht have a budget deficit, believed to be about €400,000, which has built up over the past few years.

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said it will not impact on the Union's commitment to the province but it is believed that the financial situation has been the subject of much discussion and meetings, and that changes could be implemented in the province.

But new coach Lam, who steered his side to a 25-16 opening-day Pro12 win over Zebre, said that players and management were not getting caught up in the situation and were concentrating on Friday evening's trip to Cardiff.

"A lot of that... obviously we are not involved in that. I'm sure it is all under control. For us, it is a matter of concentrating on playing. Everyone is getting paid and everyone is working hard and that's all we focus on," he said.

Lam is boosted by the return from injury of one of his three captains for the season, Gavin Duffy, for the trip to Wales while leading all-time try scorer Fionn Carr, who scored his 35th try for Connacht on his return from Leinster last weekend, is expected to recover from a knock having sat out training yesterday.

Centre Dave McSharry, capped for the Irish Wolfhounds earlier this year, but who missed out on a possible Irish cap against the USA or Canada during the summer with a troublesome groin and hip injury, is due back in action next month after surgery.

"He's back training and shouldn't be too far away, hopefully in the next three to four weeks. He may have to go through an Eagles game or club rugby as he has been out for such a long time," said Lam.

But Connacht are sweating over the availability of Miah Nikora, back-up to Dan Parks at out-half, who is out with a dislocated shoulder which could rule him out until next spring.

Irish Independent

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