Connacht coach Lam says team believed they could stun Toulouse

Dave McSharry celebrates Connacht's success as other team-mates embrace in the background

Pat Lam savoured his Connacht team's shock 16-14 Heineken Cup victory over mighty Toulouse but the coach insisted that his players had gone into the game believing they could win.

The Irish province are currently bottom of the Pro12 after losing their last eight games in the competition.

"Every single [Pro12 game] we played we could have won," said a delighted Lam.

"We missed so many opportunities throughout the season but we still came here confident."

Connacht's victory handed the big-budget French giants their first Heineken Cup defeat at their home Stade Ernest Wallon venue in five years.

The win also moves the Irish province to within a point of Toulouse and Saracens in Pool 3 and two of Connacht's remaining three games are at home, including next Saturday's return match against the French outfit.

Two early Dan Parks kicks gave Connacht a 6-0 advantage and while Jean-Pascal Barraque's try helped Toulouse lead at half-time, Kieran Marmion's touchdown and five more points from the former Scotland fly-half proved enough for Lam's side.

"There was a lot of trust out there. I'm very proud of that tonight," added the 45-year-old Connacht coach, who played in three World Cups for Samoa.

"Last week against Edinburgh we should have won comfortably, but they scored three tries in the last five minutes.

"At the time it hurt, but it might be the best thing that could have happened to us.

"We had a look at our shape and it was badly wrong. We spent a lot of time at the start of the week getting back to our defensive shape."

Lam emphasised that Connacht had refused to panic despite conceding Barraque's try in first-half injury-time which gave Toulouse a 7-6 lead at the break.

"At half-time, we mainly talked about ourselves, about playing our game. I said: 'They're giving us opportunities, we just need to recognise them.'

"The homework we did on them paid off - every time we attacked, we had opportunities.

"The try they scored before half-time happened because someone left the gate open, it was just a bad call, a system error."

Despite the greatest win in Connacht's history, Lam is demanding another big display in next Saturday's return game.

"Now we have to go and do the same in our own backyard.

"This will be a big effort, because we'll face a hurting Toulouse team.

"They're going to be written off and told how bad they are. They'll come to us fired up."

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