Pat Lam backs Connacht to emerge from tough pool in Champions Cup

The draw for the Champions Cup has handed Connacht, and all the Irish provinces, a very tough draw

Pat Lam, Connacht,

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Arriving with the memory of their Pro 12 triumph fresh in their minds, Connacht would have expected to be handed a tough draw at Wednesday's Champions Cup draw.

As the most difficult competition in European rugby, there would be no easy games, and the draw proved exactly that, as it provided some intriguing ties for the Irish provinces.

Lam's newly-crowned champions were entered as a Tier 1 team thanks to their victory, and were drawn in Pool 2 along with Wasps, Toulouse and Zebre. 

While that seems like a big ask, coach Pat Lam was typically confident when he gave his reaction to being handed a tough pool, stating that he believes that his side are equipped to make it through to the knockout stages. 

"We're excited by who was drawn in our pool," said Lam. "Zebre, who we play year on year in the PRO12 and who we have met in Europe before, are always a tough challenge for us, and we want to maintain our record against them. With Wasps and Toulouse, we have two previous winners in Europe so that sets up a great challenge for us.

"Champions Cup is the ultimate in Northern hemisphere rugby," added Lam. "It's great to be a part of it and, like I said, to have earned the right to be there. We certainly will back ourselves to prepare well and the aim for us is to reach the knock out stages of the competition."