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Millard reads the riot act to struggling Connnacht

Guinness PRO12 Editor

9 Jan 2012

Connacht assistant coach Billy Millard issued a stark warning to his side after their 13th consecutive defeat: shape up or ship out.


After a promising start to the season, the Irish province’s campaign has lurched from bad to worse as they slipped to a 20-6 defeat in the RaboDirect PRO12 to fellow strugglersAironi.

Things don’t get any easier for the Galway side with the visit of Harlequins before a daunting trip to French giants Toulouse in the Heineken Cup.

And Millard made it crystal clear that if the players do not buck up their ideas then he will be recruiting their replacements imminently.

"The players have to aim higher. They are getting a lot of money to do this,” Millard told the Irish Times.

"A few of them haven't got the experience, but they can still show the right attitude and come out to perform consistently well every week.

"If these guys cannot do it, then we have to find people who can. It's as simple as that.

"It's a ruthless market out there in terms of recruiting.

"We lost some good players last season and we need to make sure that we have the right guys on the field, both in terms of the short term and also next year.

"We have a lot of quality players here, but it's getting them to do it consistently."

Connacht had given a good account of themselves in their 15-13 home defeat to Heineken Cup champions Leinster on New Year’s Day, and they were only a missed Miah Nikora drop goal away from a sensational victory.

But against Aironi, Millard is adamant there was not a single redeeming feature and was scathing of his team’s attitude.

"Personally speaking, there is nothing positive we can take from this," he added.

"Tonight was the most disappointing of all; the performance was totally unacceptable, right across the field.

"I've always been of the belief that if you lose games in that fashion you either don't care or you're careless, and I think tonight was a bit of both.

"You'd like to think you come with the right attitude, after all, this was a chance to break our losing streak. “But we never showed the same level of desire as against Leinster, and our execution just wasn't on the money.”