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Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 23 February, 2019
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Lam looks for Connacht reaction after shock hammering

Glasgow didn’t stand on ceremony in Galway yesterday.

Connacht head coach Pat Lam after the match.
Connacht head coach Pat Lam after the match.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

CONNACHT COACH Pat Lam said there is no danger of them panicking despite the Pro12 champions suffering the biggest home defeat since he took charge over three years ago.

Connacht, who won 14 of their 15 home matches at the Sportsground last season, were blown away by six tries to one as the 2015 champions Glasgow Warriors hammered them 41-5.

The footage will make painful viewing for a side whose low error count was one of the primary reasons for last season’s historic success.

But Lam is looking for an immediate response and they will get an opportunity next Saturday when Ospreys travel to Galway, with the Welsh having opened their campaign with the biggest win of the weekend when they destroyed Zebre 59-5.

“Ospreys had a massive win against Zebre, so we need to bounce back. And that will come from making sure all the little things are done right.

“I’ve been in this game long enough to know you come off these games and can bounce back. The last time we got done like this was over in Edinburgh and we bounced back and beat Toulouse. But that will only come if the work is put in and there will be some interesting footage that we will go through,” said Lam.

It was a deflating start to the defence of their Pro12 crown in front of a disappointing crowd of just 6,063. That was up almost 2,500 on the opening day a year ago against Dragons, but it was down almost 2,000 on the crowds which saw the two games against Glasgow at the business end of last season.

And, given all the talk of moving to a new stadium or ground-sharing the GAA or soccer, failure to pack the ground for the opening game against the previous champions after winning the first trophy in their 131-year history is disappointing.

A good chunk of the crowd had departed before the end after a performance which was so unlike what Connacht produced on their march to the title last season.

And Glasgow, beaten twice in eight days at the Sportsground in May, punished them severely in an excellent showing by Gregor Townsend’s men.

“We played a pretty good side there but you could tell we were slightly off our game. Errors were costly and spent a lot of time on defence from our own turnovers,” added Lam.

“And when you give a quality side like that an opportunity to play, you are asking for trouble. But everything is fixable and we will go back and go through our process, the same as we do whether we win or lose.

“We started well and we opened them up a few times but just turning the ball over made it difficult for us. It’s one of those things, we have got to take the learnings from it.

“The good times don’t change your character and in these sort of moments we have a great opportunity to learn here.

“When you are down and your are chasing it, it tends to go one of two ways. You either close them up or it goes the other way because you put a lot of energy trying to keep the ball. And then if you lose it they can pounce and a quality team like Glasgow will punish you.”

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John Fallon

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