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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 13 December, 2018

Pat Lam settles into life at Connacht as players begin to drop like flies

The New Zealander expanded on his rugby philosophies, which hopefully includes decent player management.

IF CONNACHT COACH Eric Elwood was hoping to leave the province on a high this summer he will have to do it without some keys players.

Elwood’s squad looks set to be shorn of Willie Faloon and Eoin McKeon for Connacht’s remaining Pro12 matches but prop Denis Buckley is definitely out of action.

A knee injury has cut short the forward’s season and left the westerner’s front row stretched ahead of a weekend league clash with Edinburgh at Murrayfield.

The terrible injury news will hamper the province’s efforts to finish the league in their highest ever position of seventh. The setback comes at an inopportune time for players hoping to impress incoming coach Pat Lam.

Lam on the wall: Pat poses in Galway. (©INPHO/Morgan Treacy)

Lam spoke to the media at the Sportsground today and expanded on his rugby philosophies. With experienced players such as Adrian Flavin and Johnny O’Connor retiring at the end of the season, Lam will need to build a strong team around young, indigenous players and imports.

He told Galway Bay FM, “You have to stay close, whether you are a Michael Swift-type player of over 200 caps or a new boy.

“We have to scrap for everything we can. If we do that, and the fans can see we are doing that, then we will hope to get that consistency.”

Lam says he will be looking closely at his squad over the closing games of the current campaign, and in the pre-season, to determine the mental fortitude of his players.

“If we can bring that love of the game through [when we play], we can be more successful.”

Lam will shadow Elwood for the province’s three remaining Pro12 games, starting on Friday in Edinburgh. Connacht finish their season with home games against Ulster and Glasgow.

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Patrick McCarry

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