Galway man Andrew Browne has had an impressive start to the 2015/16 season, starting six of seven games, and tomorrow night will mark his 100th PRO12 appearance.  The veteran second row is in his tenth season at Connacht and is enjoying this one in particular:

“Yea, we’ve had a good start to the season”, said Browne this week. “It’s a combination of us getting better week on week and training is going well which is showing on the field. I think a lot of our hard work showed last week against Edinburgh who were one of the tougher teams we’ve faced so far. We knew we were going to come up against a big, physical, mauling team and although it probably wasn’t the prettiest game to watch, we came away with the win after some really hard work in defence and fronting up to their physicality”.

Tomorrow’s opponents Benetton Treviso are without a win in the Guinness PRO12 since beating Cardiff Blues at Stadio Monigo in February (13 rounds ago) but Browne says it’s dangerous territory to think you can relax ahead of any fixture:

“There’s no time to relax. You can’t view it like that or you’re asking for trouble. Treviso are going to provide another massive challenge for us this week. This game is very similar to Edinburgh in that they have the big pack and they maul it quite a bit as well. But with their internationals back they’re more than capable of putting it wide and playing with a lot of width. You can never take them or any game lightly.   

“The competition is only going to get tougher and tougher”, he continued. “We’ve beaten some good teams but we have a lot of big games to come as well – all the interpros, the likes of Scarlets. We’ve had a good start but we’re not looking past the next few games. We have to keep focused.

Keeping focused is important but there is still some time to take enjoyment from the sight of Connacht Rugby in second place on the PRO12 table:

“Yea of course it’s great to see that and it’s testament to the hard work we’ve put in. After the disappointment of last year and coming so close, we targeted this year again. We want to get to the Champions Cup on our own merit for the first time. That’s the focus again this year.

“And after a good start, we believe we can keep it up. We’re aiming for the top 6 and even beyond that – it doesn’t have to be sixth.

“The ambition from when I started nearly 10 years ago to now is just incredible. We really believe we belong at the top end of the table and we’re performing that way.”

Connacht take on Benetton Treviso on Friday night at the Sportsground. Kick off is at 7:30pm and tickets are available here.


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