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'We didn't talk much about tactics' - Lam on what was said to inspire Connacht's revival

The coach also praised Matt Healy for his stunning individual try.

Connacht's head coach Pat Lam shouts instructions during tonight's game.
Connacht's head coach Pat Lam shouts instructions during tonight's game.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Updated at 23.35

CONNACHT COACH PAT Lam admitted his side’s first-half performance against Scarlets last night was not good enough, but praised his men for ultimately earning a 14-8 victory.

Connacht found themselves 8-0 down, before a fantastic second-half Matt Healy try inspired the fightback.

“We had a clear plan at half-time of what we wanted to do,” Lam told TG4. “One of the key things that’s driven us so far is the work done off the ball, but we weren’t working hard enough, so we didn’t create any opportunities and our carries weren’t strong enough.

“We were getting dominated at the breakdown and we didn’t have to talk much about tactics — it was all tidying up and getting go-forward ball — once we got that, we could put them under pressure. So it was those little areas that were costing us.”

Asked what specifically prompted their improvement in the second period, Lam added:

“I think we got some momentum, based on better carries. We tried to play in front of them — in these sort of conditions, you have to get in behind them, but also [you need to] carry a lot more directly. Once we did that, we could build momentum.

“We could vary it up with some kicks as well, which we did in the second half. It still wasn’t perfect, but we got the crucial four points.”

He also reserved praise for Healy, after the winger’s superb individual try proved the difference between the sides, while expressing enthusiasm about the province’s upcoming “massive” fixtures.

“Matt’s got some serious wheels and he’s been threatening to do that. You’ve got to have that variation. A lot of those opportunities were open and we took one.

“After we take a break, we’ve got Leinster away, Munster away and Ulster, so this sets us up nicely. We’ll park it and move on, and go through the process of reviewing what’s good and what we need to work on.”

Meanwhile, fullback Mils Muliaina echoed his coach’s sentiments following the win.

“The lads composed themselves in the second half and we got there in the end, which was pretty pleasing.

“We probably struggled to get out of our own half [in the first half]. There’s was a little bit of a breeze, particularly down the right end of the field. We tried to play a little more and we weren’t clearing rucks as well as we should have. Our defence was pretty solid, but going forward we needed [more], so there are things to work on for next week.

“Our scrum was solid at times, our lineout struggled, but in particular in the second half, we got things back to normal again.”

The 34-year-old former New Zealand international also expressed satisfaction at featuring for 76 minutes of the game.

“There’s always a call after 60 odd minutes whether I’m okay or not, but the body feels pretty good. I’ll recover again tonight and hopefully be ready again for selection next week.

“These are the games where you want to perform. It’s a particularly tight table after the top four, and it’s these games that you have to win,” he added.

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Paul Fennessy

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