Lam regrets lack of discipline after ref allowed ‘niggle’ to fester

Connacht head coach Pat Lam was left to rue poor discipline and the lack of a firm refereeing hand after suffering defeat last night.

Lam regrets lack of discipline after ref allowed ‘niggle’ to fester

Lam saw two players — scrum-half Frank Murphy and prop Nathan White — sin-binned during a bad-tempered game which also produced a yellow card from referee Dudley Phillips for Munster’s James Cronin. Yet while the Connacht boss was disappointed by his team’s sloppy play, wasting early dominance over their hosts at both scrum and lineout, he was also frustrated by what he perceived as the official’s failure to crack down early on “niggle” from both sides.

“We turned over too much ball, our kicking put us under pressure,” Lam said. “You can’t give Munster turnover ball and we did. Our discipline let us down, and a kick led to their try, but I’m proud of the way we came back, took it to them direct and were efficient at the breakdown.”

Connacht did escape Limerick with a losing bonus point following a late try, converted by Dan Parks, but Lam felt his side had been the architects of their own downfall.

“We enjoyed set-piece pressure, to score from length of field showed character,” he said, before adding: “We were disappointed with the first half, but our hard work led to a bonus point.

“The discipline let us down. The niggle wasn’t dealt with, eventually the players sort it out themselves. Niggle, off-the-ball stuff going on, should be dealt with nice and early.”

Lam’s opposite number Rob Penney had praise for fly-half JJ Hanrahan.

“He didn’t have the best of games last week [against Scarlets], but he is an assiduous, conscientious young man who is trying hard. He has good people around him, [coaches] Simon Mannix and Ian Costello are working hard with him and it is bearing fruit, he is a talented kid who’s making huge progress,” Penney said.

“JJ was terrific, we all know he’s a prospect and where we want him to get to, he is getting better and better.

“I am pretty pleased [with the result] given the conditions and the competitive nature of Connacht-Munster games historically. We dominated for large parts and deserved our victory. They came to disrupt us and play and they deserved their [losing bonus point] result at the end.”

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