Lam hopes Muliaina can transform Connacht

Ospreys 45 Connacht 20

Former All Black Muliaina, who won 100 caps for the All Blacks, will join the province on a one-year deal next season. The current campaign came to an end with Saturday’s heavy defeat by the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium, a fifth-straight reverse for the westerners.

But Lam has been encouraged by what he has seen in his first season, and has his sights set on a play-off place next year.

He said: “There are fine margins. There were 10 games we could have won this year but lost. We goal-kicked at just over 50%, which is not good enough. We also had some big calls against us which we got apologies for and, of course, we made mistakes.

“We have a lot of talented young guys, but young guys need an experienced hand for guidance and Mils will bring that. When I came here they had a five-year plan to be the best province in Ireland, and we have four to go.”

OSPREYS: S Davies; H Dirksen, A Beck, A Bishop (J Spratt 59), J Hassler (A Natoga 64); D Biggar, T Habberfield (T Tebaldi 71); N Smith (M Thomas 61), S Baldwin (S Otten 62), A Jarvis (A Jones 47), AW Jones, I Evans (T Ardron 51), S Lewis, J Tipuric (J Bearman 62), D Baker.

CONNACHT: D Leader; D Poolman, E Griffin, D McSharry (R Henshaw 48), M Healy; M Nikora (D Parks 64), K Marmion (C Blake 71); D Buckley (F Bealham 73), D Heffernan (J Dinneen 78), R Loughney (R Ah You 32-39, 45), A Muldowney (E McKeon 53), M Kearney (M Swift 62), A Browne, C Gilsenan, J Muldoon.

Ref: Andrew McMenemy (SRU).

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