Round three of the BKT United Rugby Championship sees Connacht travel to Pretoria where they take on the Vodacom Bulls, Friday at Loftus Versfeld (k\o 5.30pm Irish time)

Connacht will be hoping it’s third time lucky and get their first win of the season as they come up against a Bulls team who have won their opening two games. One man who knows all about South African rugby in the Connacht setup is forwards coach Dewald Senekal.

Ahead of Friday’s game, Senekal spoke about last Saturday’s defeat to the DHL Stormers in Stellenbosch and what the coaches thought about the performance from the men in green.

“As coaches we have been with each other for 15 months now and we have a process whether its a win or loss”

“That process being, have we set out what we looked to do and stick to our key principles”

“We build our house on these key principles so that’s what we look at from games”

“Yes we were frustrated about some stuff, particularly the penalties we gave away but we felt there was a lot of good things, one or two more passes in certain areas and we could have scored a few more tries”

The sending off of Bundee Aki was one of the big talking points coming away from the game. Connacht’s South African coach gave his thoughts on the red card.

“It was a 14 point swing, we had just scored a try but that was ruled out due to the refs call along with the TMO from Bundee’s tackle in the lead up”

“Back in my day you probably would have got away with that but not nowadays”

“Bundee has been extremely apologetic about it”

“He loves Connacht and never wants to disappoint the club or fans but he knows he acted wrongfully towards the officials in that moment”

It’s the Bulls on Friday for Connacht who are considered a very physical side. A clash of two different styles expected at Loftus on Friday but how will Connacht look to cope with the power in which the South Africans will bring?

“One of the frustrations for us in the Ulster game was we weren’t physical enough as a pack of forwards” Senekal said

“I think we need to stop being the nice Connacht Irish boys and start imposing ourselves in games more”

“For me that part of our game is a mindset issue, we did our review from the Ulster game and I think we showed bits of our learnings from it against the Stormers which is a step in the right direction”

“Going up to Loftus is a massive physical battle, even in South Africa Loftus is considered the most physical game of the lot”

“We know the Bulls haven’t forgot what happened last year at The Sportsground and we know what’s coming, so we need to meet this storm that’s coming head on”

Being back in South Africa has given Dewald the chance to meet up with family and friends in his home country but there is an itch to get back to the West of Ireland once Friday’s match is finished.

“My family is still based down in Port Elizabeth so they came down to Cape Town where we hired a house not too far from where we live so I was fortunate enough to see them”

“They came to the game with my cousins along with my brothers children so it was great to catch up with all of them and the energy it gave me seeing them was brilliant”

“As a single man these trips are great but as a married man who is a father I miss my wife and my daughter so I can’t wait to get back to Galway and see my little girl”

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