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Dublin: 4 °C Sunday 24 March, 2019
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Pat Lam: 'It's the biggest game in our history, we've got to fire shots'

The Connacht head coach is hoping to see his side remain true to their attacking beliefs.

PAT LAM SAYS Connacht will attempt to seize their opportunity in the “biggest game in our history,” as they prepare for Saturday’s Guinness Pro12 semi-final against Glasgow Warriors in the Sportsground [KO 6.30pm].

Pat Lam Lam wants Connacht to go out and play. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Gregor Townsend’s side come to Galway for the second time in three weekends, after Connacht saw them off on a 14-7 scoreline on the final day of the Pro12 regular season.

That victory ensured Connacht have home advantage for this semi-final and Lam is hoping his players can thrive in the knock-out clash. While many teams attempt to solidify their tactics and restrict their risk-taking once they reach this stage of competitions, Connacht will look to stay true to type against the Scots.

“It’s the biggest game in our history and it’s one we’re all excited by,” said Lam at the Sportsground this afternoon.

I think the biggest thing around the whole rugby education that we do is that we’ve had a lot of big games, we’ve broken history, but the biggest thing is that we focus on how we go about winning games.

“That keeps everyone grounded, everyone understanding; it gives everyone confidence that what we do during the week will make the difference.

“We’re prepared whatever the conditions are, but we have to fire shots. There’s no point playing these games safely, safely. You’ve got to put them under pressure and the object of the game is to score more points.

“To do that, you’ve got to have something up your sleeve and we’ll have that alright.”

Given that Glasgow also play an attractive brand of rugby, the hope is that Galway is host to a dry day on Saturday. The forecast is currently swinging between sun and rain, but Lam is hopeful.

Pat Lam The Sportsground will be rocking on Saturday evening. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Most of all, he is excited to see a sell-out crowd inspire his team and hopes those Connacht fans who couldn’t get tickets can also enjoy the occasion.

“Go green,” is Lam’s message to supporters. “There are flags going up everywhere, jerseys everywhere, everyone’s going green. The fans know they’ve been part of this journey the whole way through.

“We’ve been so pleased to get a home semi because it is a magical place here. It sounds like they’re going to do something around the community [with a big screen to watch the game live], but my thing is to just enjoy it.

If you’re not at the ground, have a barbeque and just build up. Have people around and enjoy the occasion. We know what we represent.”

Connacht will have props Finlay Bealham and Rodney Ah You available for Saturday’s game after both completed the return-to-play protocols following head injuries last time out against Glasgow, while Ronan Loughney has recovered from a latissimus dorsi injury.

Inside centre Craig Ronaldson is also available again after completing his recovery from an ankle injury.

More negatively, Denis Buckley’s season is definitely over after surgery this week on his ankle injury, with the loosehead now expected back for the start of pre-season in the summer.

Nathan White’s chances of touring South Africa with Ireland next month, meanwhile, are doubtful even though he has returned to fitness training Wing Danie Poolman is back in training too, but will not be fit to face Glasgow on Saturday.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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