Lam eager for break to give battered Connacht time to recover

Connacht 12 Glasgow Warriors 19
Connacht coach Pat Lam admitted the autumn international break cannot come soon enough after his side lost their sixth Pro12 fixture against title-chasers Glasgow Warriors at the Sportsground on Saturday.

“We are struggling on bare bones at the moment,” he said. “We have had four or five big physical games on the trot. If you look at Jake Heenan, who has been battered right through, with 30 minutes to go he strained medial ligaments but he wanted to stay on because we had no more back row players.

“Our training has been

disrupted because we have no guys to fill in the holes, particularly in back row and midfield. That’s not an excuse, it’s just reality where we are at and the break cannot come at a better time for us to get some injured players back to boost our squad.”

A losing bonus point was one positive but Connacht created sufficient opportunities to win the game.

“At the end of the day we were not clinical enough. We turned the ball over at kick-offs or at the back of the scrum which gave them ball, and on the back of that our defence gave them far too much outage, particularly in the second half.”

Gregor Townsend’s Warriors scored the game’s only try after six minutes through DTH van de Merwe, while out-half Duncan Weir added the first of his 14-point haul. Connacht’s only first-half points came from a Dan Parks 14th-minute effort and although they finished the half battering the Scots’ line, they were limited to three second-half penalty kicks. The deficit remained seven points until the 69th minute when replacement out-half Craig Ronaldson provided the platform with a superb attack into the Glasgow 22.

Camped on the line, Connacht opted to take their kick at goal when replacement tight head Ed Kalman was penalised for collapsing the scrum. Although it left just four between the sides, the home side gifted Glasgow the initiative when once again failing to deal with the restart.

Weir added his fourth penalty two minutes from time to ensure the Scottish outfit maintained their push for title honours with their sixth win.

Lam, however, is unconcerned with Connacht’s current league standing.

“We just have to continue to build. I would be concerned if we were getting smashed by teams or getting a hiding with no chance and no opportunity, but every game we have had a chance of winning.

“At the moment a lot of character has been shown, but we are up against some of the better teams. We have run them close but haven’t quite nailed it. We have to persevere and it will come.”

CONNACHT: G Duffy, F Carr, D Leader, D McSharry, M Healy, D Parks,

K Marmion, B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, R Ah You, M Swift (cpt),

C Clarke, M Fifita, J Heenan, G Naoupu.

Replacements: P O’Donohoe for Marmion (27), D Heffernan for Harris-Wright (54), N White for Ah You (55), M Kearney for Swift and C Ronaldson for Parks (57), A Muldowney for Naoupu (74), JP Cooney for Wilkinson (77).

GLASGOW: N Matawalu, B McGuigan, M Bennett, G Ascarate, DTH van der Merwe, D Weir, C Cusiter (cpt), G Reid, D Hall, J Welsh, T Ryder, J Gray, R Harley, C Fusaro, J Strauss.

Replacements: E Kalman for Welsh (47), M Low for Reid (55), F Brown for Hall (61), T Holmes for Fusaro (63), L Nakarawa for Gray (67), R Vernon for Strauss (74).

Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland).


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