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Published: 19:02 | 27/5/16

Lam hopeful of 'making history'

Connacht face Leinster in Pro12 final on Saturday

Connacht coach Pat Lam believes his side can make history against Leinster in the first Pro 12 final in their history.

The two Irish provinces play off at Murrayfield on Saturday evening, and former Samoa international Lam believes Connacht can upset their more illustrious neighbours in Edinburgh.

"We know how tough it will be against Leinster, who have a huge amount of experience in finals rugby," he said.

"But we know that if we stick to our structures and systems and channel all the emotion and physicality in to our performance, we have a real chance of making history."

Leinster have won the European Rugby Champions Cup on three occasions and the Pro 12 four times, but Lam says his trophyless side have picked up a winning mentality of their own over the past 12 months.

“The biggest thing is the mindset," he said.

"We don’t need a chip on our shoulder, we don’t need people to look down on us. On the back of working hard, we can come out and beat anyone if we play as a team."

Pro12 player of the year Bundee Aki says he and former All Black Mils Muliaina opted to join Connacht after being sold by Lam's plans for the province, and have been impressed by the work of skills coach Dave Ellis, backs coach Andre Bell, forwards coach Jimmy Duffy and attack coach Conor McPhillips.

"Mils and I both came here because we believed the vision Pat had of where he saw Connacht," Akisaid.

"I wanted to be part of it – a team, from being bottom, that can create history. It reminded me of our team Counties in New Zealand under Tana Umaga.

"The coaching team is as good as any team in New Zealand, particularly with the players they have worked with and the level of skill when I arrived. The amount of work Ellis and Bell, Jimmy Duffy, and Conor McPhillips have put in behind the scenes is incredible.

"Last year was a stepping stone, but this year we have taken a big jump. Everyone’s dream is to get there [the title]; it has been baby steps, but that is our goal."

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