Connacht no match for slick Wasps outfit
Objective of pre-season fixture ‘to give everyone a chance’
Connacht’s Ronan Loughney is grounded by Wasps players. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Moreover, with two different starting XVs for each half, in addition to another eight replacements, the experimental squad failed to match the English Premiership side intent on making a winning return to Heineken Cup rugby next season.
Connacht centre Eoin Griffin grabbed his side’s only try from a block-down in a competitive opening half, but a settled Wasps outfit bagged four tries for a comfortable victory. Lam, however, says the two friendlies have served their purpose.
Now the pre-season becomes more serious. And this week Lam will take 26 players to his former club Newcastle Falcons for the final warm-up. That could include Super 15 winning captain Craig Clarke, who was unveiled to the 3,400 supporters on Saturday.
“The key was to give everyone a chance to show us coaches what they can do . . . we wanted to see them under pressure and see how they react. It was more important to find out now than in a game that matters with four points at stake.”
Most of those youngsters will be playing with Nigel Carolan’s Eagles in Connacht’s second season in the B&I Cup, but Lam believes some are ready to be given an opportunity in the RaboDirect. “Some guys struggled, some of them are not far off, and I think some are ready . . . We got some good answers today and now it is about us building towards Zebre.”