herald

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Western province to feel the sting of Young's Wasps

Connacht boss Pat Lam
Connacht boss Pat Lam

This is as difficult an assignment as Connacht have faced in Pat Lam's time at the province.

Quite simply, Dai Young's Wasps are heavy handed with game-changers and finely synchronised in defence and attack.

The most practical approach would be for the Westerners to winkle out a losing bonus point to take back to the Sportsground next week.

But they are not built for pragmatism. They only know one way - all-out attack.

"The back-to-back window in Champions Cup is always the most testing and the draw hasn't let us down with this match-up with an in-form Wasps side," said Lam.

"They are flying high in the Premiership and have not lost a game at home in 2016.

"To be involved in this type of fixture is exactly what we worked so hard for last year.

"We are excited by the challenge and opportunity to test ourselves against one of the best teams in Europe."

The Connacht coach is able to summon Ireland internationals Kieran Marmion, Niyi Adeolokun and Ultan Dillane back from the frontline.

The individual battle between Wasps captain Joe Launchbury and Dillane will be worth the price of admission alone.

There is also the enthralling prospect of Cian Kelleher pitting his speed and skills against will o' the wisp Christian Wade.

The Wasps scrum looks like a problem waiting to happen for Connacht with Matt Mullan and Martin Moore known for their scrummaging prowess.

Wasps: R Miller; C Wade, A Leiua, K Beale, J Bassett; J Gopperth, D Robson; M Mullan, T Taylor, M Moore, J Launchbury (capt), K Myall, A Johnson, T Young, N Hughes.

Connacht: T O'Halloran; N Adeolokun, S ili, B Aki, C Kelleher; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, T McCartney, C Carey, U Dillane, Q Roux, N Fox-Matamua, J Heenan, J Muldoon (capt).

Verdict: Wasps.

  • Wasps v Connacht, RicoH Arena, Tomorrow, (ko 1.0), live SS2

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