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PREVIEW: Lam faces injury headache

Tuesday 15th December 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Leader de la poule 1 d'European Rugby Challenge Cup

Leader de la poule 1 d'European Rugby Challenge Cup

Connacht head coach Pat Lam admits he is facing a major injury crisis ahead of their European Rugby Challenge Cup Pool 1 rematch with Newcastle.

The Irish province sit top of the standings with three wins from three but are without an astonishing 23 players after suffering a wretched run of injury misfortune.

It means Lam will need to count the number of healthy bodies during training this week in the build-up to the clash at Kingston Park, and may need to register additional players.

But the former Samoa international has praised how resolute his men have been to handle their injury woes but remain competitive in Europe and on the domestic front.

“We are happy with where we are in the competition at the moment. There has been a lot of effort put in by a lot of people. But this stretch of games is really starting to take its toll on us,” said Lam.

“We are desperately going to try and see if we can bend the rules a little bit and let these guys play. It is a bit of a health and safety thing at the moment.

“I have got a few challenges ahead of me. We will have to see who rocks up but hopefully it is not going to be too bad. We have had a pretty tough couple of weeks with the injuries and knocks so we need young guys to come in and step up. “

Match Facts

  • This will be the fifth meeting between the sides in the Challenge Cup with both winning two games each.
  • The home team on the day has won each of the four fixtures between these clubs in the Challenge Cup.
  • Connacht have won nine of their last 12 matches in the Challenge Cup, including each of their last three.
  • After their win last time out against the Falcons, Connacht will be aiming for four consecutive wins in the Challenge Cup for only the third time ever.

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REPORT: Falcons close gap on Connacht

Sunday 20th December 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Au prix d'une grosse performance à domicile

Au prix d'une grosse performance à domicile

Newcastle Falcons closed the gap on pool one leaders Connacht with a dominant second half display against the Irish province.

The two sides were locked at 5-5 at half-time but four tries after the interval, including two penalty tries, earned the Falcons a bonus point. It moves the Falcons two points behind pool leaders Connacht in the race for a quarter-final spot.

England Sevens flyer Marcus Watson had scored first for the home side after a lifeless opening quarter but Connacht pounced on a loose ball after 33 minutes to send Danie Poolman over to level the scores.

A penalty try and a yellow card for Connacht’s Eoghan Masterson one minute into the second half shifted the momentum of the game in the Falcon’s favour.

With Masterson off the field the Falcons hit them with a third try, Belisario Agulla crossing after excellent work by Simon Hammersley.

A second penalty try after 56 minutes for further infringements at the scrum close to their own line killed off any chance of a Connacht comeback but there was still time for Watson to grab his second try of the afternoon.

Hammersley broke the line with a superb mazy run and great support from Michael Young took the Falcons close to the Connacht line.

They recycled the ball quickly and Watson crossed for his sixth try in the Challenge Cup this season.

It proved to be the last points for the Falcons as conditions made this difficult for both sides but the Falcons will be delighted with their second half display.

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