Connacht boss Pat Lam hailed his players’ performance after their shock 24-16 victory over Munster at the Sportsground in Galway on Thursday.
The result moved Connacht in to fifth place in the standings – just five points behind third-placed Munster – and it’s their second giant-killing act of the season after their triumph over Leinster during the early stages of the competition.
“I think Leinster was big in Round Three but it was Round Three,” said Lam.
“Where the table sits now and what is riding on the game, the fact that we are starting the mid-season and we needed the four points that was first and foremost.”
“But I am extremely proud of the guys, it was a game that we had to win.
“I said at the start of the week that we pick a game plan around the battle that we will face, and, watching what Munster did to Leinster last week, we put a bit of work into it this week, and fair play to the boys, they did it together and it was a fantastic effort.
“In all of my time in Galway I have been hearing about the wind and hearing about the rain, you get a little bit and that was probably the worst we have had.”
Lam praised his assistants, Dan McFarland (forwards coach ), Dave Ellis (skills coach) and Andre Bell (backs and kicking coach) for their contribution to the victory.
“We saw that last week and so we prepared as a coaching staff and I have got to take my hat off to the coaching staff,” he added.
Connacht’s midfield combination of Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki wreaked havoc on attack and Lam also sang the duo’s praises.
“He just gets better and better,” said Lam of Henshaw.
“It’s only his second game with Bundee, the two of them get on really well.This whole thing that we are doing is that we have a small squad, but in the group there is massive competition.”
Munster head coach Anthony Foley also hailed Henshaw’s contribution to Connacht’s win.
“He was outstanding, he was immense,” he said.
“Physical, direct and he made good decisions in the open spaces. It would have been hard to hold a ball there tonight, but I don’t think he made a mistake.
“He’s an international centre and we’re delighted he’s Irish.”