Connacht chasing back to back wins in the Champions Cup

Connacht coach Pat Lam is delighted his son Mitch has joined the squad as cover for the out-half position.

Springbok Marnitz Boshoff joins up with Connacht at the end of this week, but the reigning PRO12 champions have been light on No 10s, and the younger Lam made his debut for the Connacht Eagles in the 23-10 defeat by Cornish Pirates in the B&I Cup last Sunday.

He had been training with the Connacht squad and played Ulster Bank League rugby for Galwegians, though coach Lam admits the 24-year-old wasn’t initially keen to come on board with the province. “He did well. He came over here as a favour to dad — he was in Auckland — because we were light on 10s,” said Pat Lam.

“I just needed him to be there covering and helping Galwegians. And just in case, for all of these games until Marnitz arrives this week, we have only had two 10s. Craig Ronaldson has only just got back, so we needed someone.

“He wasn’t initially keen to come but I’m glad he came. He has enjoyed being over here. It was good last Sunday, he did well.”

Connacht clash with Zebre in the Champions Cup on Sunday as they look to make it back-to-back wins in Pool 2.

They begin their journey to Parma on Friday. And prior to that Lam, and some of his management team and senior players, will pay their respects at the funeral of Anthony Foley in Killaloe.

Irish lock Quinn Roux (concussion) is being reintegrated into training this week ahead of the game. Centre Peter Robb (hip) is also back training, while centre Eoin Griffin is following return to play protocols after concussion playing for Connacht Eagles.

Ireland full-back Tiernan O’Halloran (knee) will miss the game in Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi after he hobbled off in the 23-21 win over Toulouse.

Lam said: “It doesn’t look as bad as initially thought, so hopefully he will be right for Leinster. He has been playing really well. Across the board, some games weren’t as good as others, but the thing I like about Tiernan is he has got real maturity and experience.

“He is in the leadership group. He gets hard on himself if he doesn’t get things right but he turns it around because he does the work in training.

“It’s important for everybody in our squad to be training well. It’s the same thing Irish rugby needs at that level. You’ve got four provinces, you’ve got all these players. If all of them are playing well, it’s good for Irish rugby.”

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