Lam Conn-ed by French refereeing farce
Connacht coach Pat Lam could pay his entire salary in fines, such was the insult of Romain Poite's refereeing heaped upon the injury of losing out to Gloucester 40-32 after extra-time in the Champions Cup semi-final play-off at Kingsholm yesterday.
It was right at the end of normal time with Connacht leading 25-18 and captain John Muldoon carrying into contact that Poite's senseless intervention would eventually cost them the dearest price.
England second row Tom Palmer ended up on the wrong side of the ball for a blatant penalty that would have ended the affair.
Poite somehow whistled the Irish province and, in the final act, centre Bill Meekes cruised through from broken play for Greig Laidlaw's conversion to force extra-time.
Connacht had thrown caution and the form book to the wind to hit the home side hard with tries by scrum-half John Cooney, left wing Matt Healy and fly-half Jack Carty to hold a deserved lead.
It was all wrenched away by Poite's decision and the opportunism of Meekes.
Even then, Connacht recovered from James Hook's 90th minute penalty at the end of the first-half of extra-time through Healy's second try to hold sway at 32-28 before their stamina drained away.
The Premiership club rested almost their entire team the previous week and they found the reserves of energy to plunder late tries by Darren Dawiduik and Jonny May.
It will be Gloucester who will host Bordeaux-Begles next Sunday for the final place in the Champions Cup.