herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Connacht still holding tight onto the rope of hope

Pat Lam has been charged following comments made to the media immediately after Connacht's 18-17 defeat to Cardiff Blues
Pat Lam has been charged following comments made to the media immediately after Connacht's 18-17 defeat to Cardiff Blues

The season is right on the line for the Italians, three points off Treviso, and for Connacht, five points away from The Scarlets and four off Edinburgh when these meet at Stadio Lanfranchi.

This is already looking like the one that got away for The Westerners as they have never recovered from that controversial night in Cardiff, losing four straight for the consolation of just two points.

It has stalled their campaign and allowed The Scarlets and Edinburgh to haul them in as they have flapped around consistency.

The main problem has been their imprecise play in the danger zone. Pat Lam's men don't seem to have any problem winning the ball, just using it with authority.

The gut-wrenching defeat to Glasgow was a mirror of how they have failed to build on solid foundations.

They came out firing with all the heat of a house on fire, came so close, so many times, and, yet, somehow contrived to hand The Warriors three tries from three attacks.

The salvation of their season could still be at hand, though it is increasingly unlikely, and the procurement of five points from four tries will keep them alive.

They have to show the accuracy of execution that has been absent in the last month and more.

The bad news is Zebre are just as desperate for points; the good is that Connacht have won their last seven against the two Italian clubs.

In fact, Connacht have taken Zebre's stripes on all nine occasions the two have met, harvesting bonus-points in the last two.

They will need more of the same to hold onto the rope of hope.

pro12: zebre v connacht, tomorrow (ko 5.30) live tg4

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