Head coach Pat Lam stated that he has had a number of selection headaches ahead of the opening clash:
“I would say selection for this team has probably been one of the toughest in all my time here”, the head coach conceded. “We’ve come off the back of a really tough pre-season schedule and we worked the boys extremely hard. We know we will have a tough match schedule with 16 consecutive weekends to come this season so from the start, we put a huge emphasis on ensuring we close the gap between the perceived ‘first teamers’ and ‘second string’ players. All the boys, including the Academy players training with us, have really taken ownership and pushed themselves.
“Everyone is really pushing each other hard and that has made selection really hard for us…which is what you want as a coaching team.”
With Champions Cup qualification the number one goal of the season and achieved by a top 6 finish in the PRO12, the road to Europe starts tomorrow night:
“Everything counts now”, said Lam. “We know a good start is very important for our season. When you look back to last year and how we missed out by such fine margins, it just highlights the importance of every single game and every single point. We are at home for five of our first seven games so getting off to a good start is crucial.”
The Connacht team to play Dragons will be named at 12 noon on Thursday.
Don't miss out on Connacht's opening game of the season. Tickets for Connacht v Dragons are available from tickets.ie.