Lam: ‘We had our chances’

Date published: January 22 2017

Connacht head coach Pat Lam admitted that the chance of progressing to the European quarter-finals for the first time slipped through his side’s fingers.

The PRO12 champions fell behind 19-3 in France and ran out of time to swing the lead back their way, despite John Muldoon’s try giving them hope.

Toulouse’s win meant that the four-time champions progressed through to the last eight instead.

Lam reflected that pushing a side like Toulouse as close as Connacht did proved how far the Irish province have come in recent seasons, even if it in the end they missed out on the result.

“We’re frustrated. When you miss out by two points, it’s a killer blow. We had our chances to get over the line,”┬áLam said.

“The last thing you want to do when you come over here is give them a lead of 14 points, particularly off a couple of system errors.

“A lot of teams down by 14 points could easily fold, but the boys came back really well, and we knew the situation. We just needed a penalty or try to get within seven. We had chances and couldn’t take them.”

He added: “To take Toulouse, with their history and European record, to the last play just shows how far we have come, but it still doesn’t take away the disappointment, and there are learnings there for a lot of the young guys in the team.

“The boys knew what they had to do. Ultimately there were chances to score, but we didn’t, and at the end of the day we’ll look at the last bit of play and there were so many things we could have taken, so we only have ourselves to blame for that, and we’ll put it away as a learning experience.”