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'There's pre-conceived ideas, both ways': Pat Lam wades in to Connacht's ref row

Lam has his say on Bundee Aki’s suspension for remarks made to referee.

Lam: Munster trip will be his last league game in charge.
Lam: Munster trip will be his last league game in charge.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

CONNACHT COACH PAT Lam has called on his players to control their tempers on the back of Bundee Aki’s suspension for abusing a referee.

But the outgoing Connacht coach could land himself in hot water with Pro12 officials after stating there were ‘pre-conceived ideas, both ways’ between his players and referee Ian Davies.

Davies complained about Aki’s behaviour and remarks directed toward him during and shortly after Connacht’s recent Pro12 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, there’s no doubt that both ways, there’s pre-conceived ideas, both ways.

“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.”

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

He continued: “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.”

Aki, 27, has played 59 times for the province and scored nine tries, but the centre now 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 defeat unscathed.

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

Williams, who is picked to tour with the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand this summer, allegedly dumped the Connacht centre to the floor, and Griffin is following graduated return to play protocols.

“The officials saw it, the TMO saw it, so we just leave it to them. It’s just those things that happen in the game and we just have to move on,” said Lam, who did not make reference to the incident in his match report.

“All of those things, there’s a citing commissioner and the TMO and all of that. If they don’t deal with it. And if they think it’s okay, it’s okay.”

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Daragh Small

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