Pat Lam spoke this week ahead of the New Year’s Day clash with Leinster at the RDS.

“One of the positives from the weekend and the game against Ulster was that we came away with no new injuries. That certainly made for a change from recent weeks and it was big in terms of our preparation for Leinster this week.

“We know we missed a realistic opportunity to get four points and a rare win over Ulster last week but following a thorough review on Monday we are looking forward to taking our learnings into another tough derby game on Friday.

“It won’t be easy though following Leinster’s good win over Munster at Thomond Park. They are an experienced side stacked full of international and quality players across the park who are all pushing hard to be involved in the upcoming 6 Nations. Now they’re back at the RDS where they haven’t lost since March and a place where we have never won. So it’s going to be a massive challenge for us without a doubt.

“We have a lot of young Irish players who are fairly new to this level of rugby week in, week out, and who are excited to have the opportunity to learn and grow their rugby experience. These big games are vital in their rugby education and it is very beneficial for us going straight into another big challenge after Ulster at the weekend.

“The last two times we’ve played at the RDS, we feel we were right in it and were gutted not to come away with a more positive result on both occasions. We’ve been there or thereabouts but we haven’t been able to finish it off. Hopefully on New Years Day, we can show that we’ve learned from those past experiences.”

The Connacht team to face Leinster will be named on Thursday at 12 noon.




Gallery: 6 Nations and Celtic Challenge