CONNACHT RUGBY NEWS: Ahead of Connacht’s opening game in the RaboDirect PRO12 against the Cardiff Blues, Head Coach Eric Elwood is feeling bullish about securing the maximum four points on offer in Saturday’s home tie.
Speaking at this evenings press conference at the Sportsground, a focused Elwood and captain Gavin Duffy, were resolute in their stance they were not looking any further than the season opener and, to sum up their confident attitude, neither player nor coach ever mentioned a simple bonus try win – It was always ‘four points on Saturday’.
“Four points is all that matters come Saturday evening, we’re not looking further than that right now” said Connacht’s Head Coach. Elwood’s confidence of a win stems from Cardiff’s poor pre-season and the loss of experience around the park. However, the former Ireland player is under no illusions as to the task facing his team against a Welsh side that play a very fast, expansive game and have a good record against the Irish province.
“They’ve lost a lot of experience and didn’t have a great pre-season, but they like to play a fast, open and high-tempo game and it’ll be our job to stop them from playing. Also they have a decent record against us, but, we’re at home and looking to kick-start our RaboDirect PRO campaign on a high”
While Connacht’s pre-season didn’t go exactly to plan, Elwood points to the positives “I was very pleased with our pre-season, it gave a lot of our younger players experience and game time and I would take losing all the games in return for four points on Saturday”. Duffy was quick to praise the inclusion of the Connacht academy players this season “They bring a lot of enthusiasm to the squad, their off-loading is at a very high level and they like to challenge the senior guys in the tackle”.
Connacht will name their starting XV as close to kick-off as possible to allow players returning from injury every chance to prove their fitness in the coming days. Returning from the treatment table are Eoin Griffin, Ronan Loughney and Duffy among others. However, flanker Eoin McKeon, hooker Jason Harris-Wright and scrum-half Paul O’Donohoe are all definitely out for Saturday’s opener. Kick off 5pm.
Changes in Personal
Dan Parks from Cardiff Blues
Nathan White from Leinster
Willie Faloon from Ulster
Jason Harris-Wright from Bristol
Brian Murphy from Galwegians
Danie Poolman from Stormers
Matt Healy from Lansdowne
Mata Fafita from Sligo FC
JP Cooney from Garryowen