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'We should have been ruthless' - Connacht only have themselves to blame, admits Pat Lam

The westerners were denied in Brive yesterday.

Connacht's John Muldoon and Bundee Aki dejected.
Connacht's John Muldoon and Bundee Aki dejected.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CONNACHT COACH Pat Lam was left to rue a long line of errors, missed chances and ill-discipline as he saw his side lose with the last kick of the game for the second week in a row.

Two tries from John Muldoon added to Rory Parata’s first-minute score looked to have given Connacht at least a share of the spoils at Stade Amedee-Domenech, but Brive centre Thomas Laranjeira landed his seventh penalty of the night following a scrum infringement in the last minute.

Muldoon’s second try of the game came two minutes from time and levelled the game at 18-18, but Jack Carty’s conversion for the win from the right missed it’s target, although a draw looked a certainty at that stage.

Instead Connacht failed to close out the game again, and now trail Brive by a point in the standings with one game to go in Pool 1. Lam’s side host Enisei STM at the Sportsground, while Brive face a tough test away to Newcastle Falcons, who also lost yesterday away to the Russian side in Sochi.

And while it was heartbreaking to see his side concede a last-minute penalty and to have a few refereeing decisions go against them, Lam insisted the blame lay at their own door only.

“It went from one to the other, we dropped ball and then off a turnover then we give away a penalty,” said Lam.

“Then we bring the referee calls into it as well. Again the person we can blame is ourselves. Because we should have been scoring, we should have been ruthless.

“We had enough chances and we just keep the game, keep breaking down on our errors and Brive didn’t have to do anything to get that win, except our own fault.”

Pat Lam Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Connacht now need Falcons to do them a favour against Brive next weekend if they are to reach the quarter-finals. The five pool winners go through automatically to the last eight, and a bonus point victory over Enisi could well be enough to give Connacht that honour, but they are currently outside of the three best runners-up slot available.

One positive for the Connacht coach is that his side created plenty of chances in attack and scored three good tries. However, once again it was their failure to avoid the concession of penalties that cost them dearly.

“We should have (won), that’s how disappointing it is. We blew quite a few opportunities,” said Lam.

“We should have been home and hosed, and already qualified. Again we have only got ourselves to blame – that’s the reason we have not (qualified).”

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