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Dublin: 9°C Sunday 18 April 2021

'These sort of things happen in rugby' says Lam as Connacht battered

The New Zealander has called on his players to finish the season on a high after a hammering in North London.

Connacht coach Pat Lam has much to mull on after his team were destroyed by Sarries.
Connacht coach Pat Lam has much to mull on after his team were destroyed by Sarries.
Image: Sky Sports

CONNACHT COACH PAT LAM tried his best to look ahead to the final months of the season in a positive mindset after his team were battered by Saracens.

Lam witnessed his side concede 11 tries against Mark McCall’s men at Allianz Park as they were crushed 64-6. The players collectively missed 23 tackles and conceded 17 turnovers as they were blown off the all-weather park by last year’s Heineken Cup semi-finalists.

Connacht led 6-5 after 21 minutes before the try-scoring floodgates opened. Winger David Strettle scored a hat-trick and 46 points were leaked in a woeful second-half for the Irish side, who finished third in Pool 3.

Lam told Sky Sports, “Obviously it’s disappointing and we’re not too proud of ourselves there, in that second-half, but these sort of things happen in rugby. Momentum builds, you fall off tackles and collisions.”


Connacht captain Craig Clarke trudges off the pitch. INPHO/James Crombie

Lam was upset that his side could not hold Saracens at bay in the final moments of the first-half, as the home side mauled over and Schalk Brits touched down to turn a one-score game into an 18-6 deficit. He added, “We spoke about it at half-time, [playing] into a slight breeze, that we had to control the ball and really make our tackles. As we fell off, injuries started to happen and it is just one of those days.

We have to, obviously, get ourselves off the deck. On these sort of days, it’s about what you do afterwards.”

The former Auckland Blues coach emphasised the need for his players to compete as a team and, not for the first time, lamented his squad’s lack of “superstar” power. “A missed tackle costs us badly, a dropped pass costs us badly, missing the lineout costs us badly. Effectively, it all happened at once,” said Lam.

“They are some proud boys in there and they’re hurting badly. They’e disappointed [that] they let a lot of their fans down. We now have to get back up. That’s life; you face these challenges, every rugby player has. It’s not nice at the time but it’s what you do from here that really counts.”

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As it happened: Saracens v Connacht, Heineken Cup

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Patrick McCarry

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