Connacht 11 Ospreys 32: It should have been a glorious occasion for Connacht on Saturday evening as, for the first time in history, they commenced a game with seven Irish senior internationals on board, but the stuttering start to the defence of the PRO12 title they won with such style less than four months ago continued.
They remain without a point after two games.
Connacht, in front of 5,749 spectators at the Sportsground, were unable to capitalise on an excellent third quarter where Eoin McKeon’s try briefly gave them the lead. Instead they conceded three tries in the last eight minutes to finish empty handed.
Lam admitted: “Definitely (there were errors) and that’s decision-making from individuals. When you trim off all the guys that could potentially be playing then the next guys have to get up to experience. And that’s their experience. Everyone’s had a different learning experience.”
Admittedly this was an improved performance from their opening day hammering. They battled hard to get back in the game after they trailed 10-3 at half-time, but they also left plenty of points unclaimed on the night.
Early on Jack Carty missed a penalty close to the posts, and he also failed to convert McKeon’s 57th minute try. With those points in the bank Connacht would have had a six-point lead to defend, but the excellent Sam Davies hit back immediately to leave Connacht chasing the game.
Lam chose not to castigate his kicker, who kicked well from hand. “It’s always the trickiest place to goal-kick. I’m just happy knowing the boys have put the work in. As long as I know that. If you go through all the games, few people get 100 per cent, especially in Galway. We missed five points but if we got tries from mauls....... You have to earn those, we had enough opportunities that we just didn’t finish off.”
Lam has cause to complain about two rolling mauls that were collapsed – but not penalised – just before half-time, but in the end Ospreys were clinical as Rhys Webb, Tyler Ardron and Jeff Hassler all crossed late on to make it a worthwhile visit by the Welsh outfit. For Lam and Connacht it is back to the drawing board.
Scorers for Connacht:
E McKeon try; J Carty 2 pens.
Scorers for Ospreys:
R Webb 2, T Ardron, J Hassler tries; S Davies 3 cons, 2 pens.
T O’Halloran; N Adeolokun (D Poolman, 66) (D Heffernan, 73), E Griffin, B Aki, M Healy; J Carty (S O’Leary, 66), K Marmion (C Blade, 68); R Loughney (JP Cooney, 60), T McCartney, F Bealham (D Robertson-McCoy, 75); U Dillane, D Qualter; E McKeon (L Stevenson, 68), J Connolly (R Moloney, 75), J Muldoon (capt).
D Evans; J Hassler, B John, J Matavesi, E Walker (T Habberfield, 73); S Davies, R Webb (capt); N Smith (P James, 56), S Parry (S Baldwin, 66), D Arhip (M Fia, 56); B Davies (L Ahsley, 53), R Thornton (L Ashley, 44-53, blood) (D Baker, 73); O Cracknell (J King, 60), J Tipuric, T Ardron.
B Whitehouse (WRU).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved