James Crombie/INPHO Connacht coach Pat Lam.
straight Talk

'We took a guy off the bar to play 10 minutes for Connacht, that's where we're at'

Connacht coach Pat Lam lamented his squad’s injury crisis after another heavy defeat all but ended his side’s European Cup hopes.

CONNACHT COACH PAT LAM had a very interesting take on his team’s latest RaboDirect Pro12 defeat. Lam was not impressed with the individual errors that littered his side’s 32-23 defeat to Munster at the weekend.

Connacht’s second heavy defeat in two weeks now looks to have ended their outside hopes of European Cup rugby next season. With the two Italian sides languishing in 11th and 12th in the league standings, Connacht need to finish sixth as seventh is set to be reserved for the highest placed of Treviso or Zebre.

Connacht’s defeat to Munster leaves them 12 points back from sixth place Scarlets, with memories of a four-game winning streak now fading fast. Lam, in his first season at the helm in Galway, bemoaned his team’s injury problems and pointed out that he was forced to select fifth-choice hooker Jack Dinneen on the replacements bench.

He said, “If you look at all the squads and you look what we have at the moment, with our injury list, some players are out on their feet. We took a guy who should have been on the bar tonight; he was down to work on the bar.

[We did that] because we’ve lost three hookers. Jason Harris-Wright is out on his feet and hasn’t trained all week. So we’ve got number five, who has come out of club rugby, off the bar and sat him down [on the bench]. He came on and played 10 minutes, his first game for Connacht. That’s where we are at.”

“You need a squad to do well in these competitions. We’re using a lot of players. Sometimes guys are getting selected because, unfortunately, there’s not enough pressure [for jerseys] because of injuries.”

Lam mentioned the fact that his Connacht squad only has one player who featured for Ireland this season [Robbie Henshaw]. He believes his players are capable of better but are often not translating good games, or training sessions, into consistency of results.

He said, “We you go to another level — and I’ve spoken about this before — good players and good international players make good decisions in big games. Unfortunately, we made some poor decisions and executions that put us under a lot of pressure.”

– Additional reporting by Aaron Turner @ConnachtClan

Read: The Heineken Cup semi-finals are here, and any one of these four teams could win it

Read: Munster on verge of home semi final after bonus point win over Connacht

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