Pat Lam keeps a lid on Connacht’s expectations in Heineken Cup

Connacht's Jack Carty and Alberto Chillon of Zebre
Connacht's Jack Carty and Alberto Chillon of Zebre

Connacht head coach Pat Lam is not getting carried away after his side grabbed their third Heineken Cup win to stay alive in Pool Three.

European debutant Jack Carty kicked 10 points, converting tries from man-of-the-match Matt Healy and Robbie Henshaw, as the Irish province beat fellow RaboDirect PRO12 strugglers Zebre 20-3 in Galway.

The 20-3 victory ensures Connacht are still alive in the pool - sitting in third place, two points behind Toulouse and Saracens - with their final match next Saturday against Sarries at Allianz Park.

However, Lam was disappointed with his side’s overall performance and their inability to bag a bonus point which could be vital for their qualification hopes.

“I am happy with the win - you don’t take wins lightly in European rugby - but I am also pretty disappointed,” he said.

“The outcome is great because we got the win, but ultimately we were not clinical enough, and had so many opportunities right across the board that we didn’t take.”

Although keeping the Italian visitors try-less, it took Connacht more than 20 minutes to register their first points and they secured their second try through Henshaw in the 43rd minute.

“It was frustrating because early on we lost so many opportunities. The quality of our kicking was inaccurate, we kicked recklessly and not in the right place, and gave the ball away at crucial times,” added Lam.

“We now have a big week ahead. Our cup form has been good, but that first game against Saracens (in October) still irks - a case of what could have been.”

Of Connacht’s chances of reaching the last eight, he remarked: “If Toulouse win at home (against Saracens on Sunday ) then it’s all up for second place, so realistically we are right there.”

Zebre had high hopes of registering their first ever Heineken Cup win, but they left the Sportsground without a single point.