Lam remains upbeat despite injuries

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 12:15
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NEWS: Connacht head coach Pat Lam believes his team still has a chance of reaching the last eight of the European Rugby Champions Cup despite an ever-growing injury crisis.

Lam is without a host of first-choice stars ahead of back-to-back games with Zebre and Toulouse.

The Sportsground outfit are level on points with Wasps and Toulouse on 13 in Pool Two, but saw star flyhalf Jack Carty and flank Jake Heenan add to their absentees at the weekend.

"We're excited by the opportunity in Europe but we need to see what the injury situation is and reassess," said Lam after his team's 7-29 defeat to the Ospreys.

"We'll know in the next 24 to 48 hours how they are. We're really low on numbers and a lot of our starters aren't there, but we need to dust ourselves off and we've got two massive games to try and get little Connacht into the last eight of the Champions Cup,"

Connacht meet Zebre in Galway on Saturday and then visit Top14 giants Toulouse the following Sunday.

Apart from the Italians, all three Pool Two sides can still qualify with Connacht still in with a chance of finishing top or as one of the tournament's best runners-up.

Carty is unlikely to be fit to face Zebre with a knee problem, but Lam remains upbeat.

"If Connacht can make the last eight in Europe - and we have a genuine chance in these two games - that would be massive for us," he said.

"The next two weeks will determine whether we can achieve that goal or not. We've got to get back on the horse.

"The minimum we want is to be in next season's Champions Cup. We keep trying to improve and the moments when you're struggling are when you get the most growth,"

As they look ahead to their final two rounds of fixtures, Connacht have added to their squad with the signing of Bedford's Tom Farrell.

The centre joins Lam's side with immediate effect. The 22-year-old has made 12 appearances for the Goldington Road club since joining in the summer from London Irish with his last being against his former club.

www.epcrugby.com

 

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Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
La Rochelle 6 4 0 2 20
Wasps 6 3 0 3 17
Ulster 6 4 0 2 17
Harlequins 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 6 5 0 1 22
Saracens 6 3 1 2 18
Ospreys 6 2 1 3 15
Northampton Saints 6 1 0 5 6
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 6 6 0 0 27
Exeter Chiefs 6 3 0 3 15
Montpellier 6 2 0 4 13
Glasgow Warriors 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 6 4 1 1 21
Racing Metro 6 4 0 2 19
Castres 6 2 1 3 12
Leicester Tigers 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Scarlets 6 4 0 2 21
Toulon 6 4 0 2 19
Bath 6 4 0 2 18
Treviso 6 0 0 5 4