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Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 21 November, 2017
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A win at last: Pat Lam proud to see Connacht do it their way

The champions’ philosophy was on full display in last night’s bonus point win over Edinburgh.

Peter Robb evades Cornell du Preez.
Peter Robb evades Cornell du Preez.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CONNACHT COACH PAT Lam insisted his side were going to stick to their principles to plot a way out of their losing streak.

Last night Connacht secured their first win of the season in style as tries from Niyi Adeolokun, Quinn Roux, Cian Kelleher and Peter Robb wrapped up a bonus point win that roused the 5,771 in attendance at the Sportsground.

Despite the sodden conditions, from the first minute Connacht’s intentions were crystal clear: they retained possession for two minutes and 40 seconds before Edinburgh got a sniff of the ball.

As always their happiness to run from everywhere didn’t go fully to plan – like when Grant Gilchrist scored for the visitors in the first-half after a set of Connacht phases ended with a turnover on their own 22 – but Lam was happy to see Plan A flourish.

“When they won the toss they chose to kick, so for us it was: ‘Let’s play. Let’s use the ball’,” said Lam.

You saw what happened when we kick a ball to them and then we have to tackle. Don’t underestimate even in those first two or three minutes, I looked at the body language at the end of it. Our guys were fine.

“Even though we turned the ball over, I looked at their (Edinburgh’s) body language and they were sucking air. It’s like a boxing match, you throw a few jabs and look it’ll pay dividends at some stage.

“We prided ourselves many times last year on keeping the ball and all our first three games we lost all the possession stakes and we spent a lot of time defending.

Cian Kelleher celebrates his try with Conor Carey and Niyi Adeolokun Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“You’ve all seen the result of that. There’s a responsibility to nail it and we were going well until we turned the ball over.”

All over the park Connacht were improved from their opening four games. Each week they’ve seemed to find an extra piece of the jigsaw and last night they found the key corner piece again.

‘The one team I haven’t beaten’

It is a timely recovery too, considering the next two visitors to the Sportsground are Les Kiss’ high flying Ulster and French heavy hitters Toulouse. Lam is extra keen to beat Ulster and complete the full house of Pro12 wins.

“It’s the one team I haven’t beaten since I’ve been here and every time, besides two blow-outs, it’s always been close and there have been key moments,” Lam said of facing Ulster.

“Last year we didn’t take some key opportunities there and we lost in the 79th minute.

Bundee Aki chats to referee Nigel Owens after the game Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“Our focus has to be on us getting our jobs right again but we’re under no illusions as to what’s coming whiletonight was five points and an improved performance.

“We go back to work again and get the recovery done and prepare for a massive occasion and a tough challenge next week.”

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Declan Rooney

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