Pat Lam said he was full of pride at the effort and second half comeback his team showed in the Challenge Cup quarter final defeat to Gloucester on Friday night.

Two defensive lapses in the midst of an electric atmosphere at a packed Kingsholm saw Lam’s men fall behind 14-0. But their impressive second half revival almost had the home side on the ropes and attacking in the final stages of the game, a draw and extra time looked like a great possibility. But Gloucester’s defence in their own 22 survived the late onslaught and David Humphries side booked themselves into a home semi-final.

After the game, the Connacht head coach said:

“One thing I never doubt with these guys is that they never give up and they keep going hard. We know in the first half we didn’t exit well, we let in two soft tries – bit of a lucky bounce of the ball for one of them.

“But we spoke at half time about raising the intensity and being more ruthless with our execution. We missed some chances but to be still fighting hard at the end to get into extra time, I believe it’s a credit to the guys and their refusal to give up. We’ve a young group of guys who are looking to take this team forward and the experience of this sort of knock out game will hold them in good stead.“

Connacht welcome Ulster to the Sportsground this Saturday for round 19 of the Guinness PRO12

“We gave it all for this one against Gloucester but we came up short. We must park it now and move our attention back to the PRO12 where our destiny is still in our hands.  We have Ulster coming to Galway in a few days’ time and it’s an exciting game considering we really need the win. We’ve beaten Leinster and Munster at home this season so it would also be really special to create a little bit of Connacht history with three interpro wins.

“There are only four games to go. So we’re trying to get as many guys back fit and ready to go for what are four big games – three of them at home at the Sportsground. We’ve only lost once at home in the PRO12 so we’ve got to have a really good week’s preparation and be ready for Saturday for a massive game in front of our home fans.”

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