Today's game against Scarlets presents a vital opportunity for Pat Lam's side
Having suffered three defeats across two competitions, Connacht head into today's fixture in desperate need of a win.
Scarlets provide the opposition today, a side who also endured a recent deterioration in form, having lost two derbies just before Christmas. But Connacht boss Pat Lam is acutely aware that his side will have to improve on their drought of tries if they are to revive their campaign today.
Connacht head coach Pat Lam expects Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw to return from a fractured hand later this month. pic.twitter.com/7QRFWw0EWz— EatSleepRugby (@eatsleeprugby) January 1, 2016
Speaking earlier this week, Lam said:
''We've looked at the reasons why, as a coaching group, and we've factored that (tries) into our game-plan. Again, if we can bring the same sort of intensity and effort that we've been producing all season, and channel that into being more clinical and build pressure, then we'll give ourselves a great chance against Scarlets.''
"We're creating opportunities that we're not quite finishing off, but we've got to put that into the context of the conditions. Against Ulster, that was the first time we hadn't scored a try in a game. Both teams struggled in the conditions and they scored in the last minute of the game. And at the weekend, too (against Leinster), they were horrendous conditions, and with the fire and emotion of a derby game, both defences were very good."
Both Connacht and Scarlets received boosts ahead of today's game, with Ultan Dillane returning to the fold for Connacht after training with the Irish team last weekend, while John Bradley comes back in at open side flanker for Scarlets.
Scarlets: M Collins; S Evans, R King, H Parkes, DTH van der Merwe; A Thomas, A Davies; R Evans, K Owens, S Lee, T Price, L Rawlins, A Shingler, M Allen, J Barclay. Replacements: R Elias, P John, R Jones, M Paulino, R Pitman, R Williams, S Shingler, S Hughes.
Connacht: T O'Halloran; N Adeolokun, B Aki, C Ronaldson, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; F Bealham, T McCartney, N White, U Dillane, A Browne, J Muldoon (capt), E Masterson, J Heenan. Replacements: D Heffernan, R Loughney, R Ah You, A Muldowney, S O'Brien, I Porter, A McGinty, R Parata.