Connacht Rugby’s Juniors will attempt to set yet another record this weekend, having set one on Saturday v Leinster, against Munster in this spring’s do-or-die interpro finale.

Defending champions Connacht eked out a bare-bones three-point win over Ulster in Dromore in week one, and aside from a 20minute opening meltdown, completely eclipsed their Leinster counterparts at home in Loughrea last weekend 24-18.

Munster, by comparison, pulled a similar magic-act over Leinster down by a point with time on the clock 15-16 in week one. A try on full-time swung the balance 20-15 in favour of the Reds and they joined Connacht atop the table prior to week two.

Munster made short work of Ulster last weekend, 34-15 in fine four-try style to go a point ahead of those in green.

The single-point lead is mathematical this weekend; a win for one will clinch the 2012 spoils given neither Leinster nor Ulster can contest for competition honours with two losses apiece.

In Munster’s favour is a bench with all the pedigree markings of Ireland’s traditional rugby stronghold. That said, Connacht forged a new reputation this time last year sweeping all aside en route to the championship culminating in a Boys Club-hosted 26-9 demolition of this weekend’s opposition on the Sportsground’s hallowed turf. Into a buffeting wind, Connacht contained a much-vaunted Munster to 9-5 at halftime and systematically pummelled the visiting outside backs thereafter.

Mata Fifita, Aaron Spring and Dave Prior thrived off superb service from Paddy Pearson and Ger O’Connor. None among that five will feature on Saturday, but Connacht has shown already in this short campaign an ability to do what is demanded.

Coach Ambrose Conboy found few faults with last weekend’s performance, and strong showings from wing-threequarters Peter Cosgrove and Kevin Corcoran prove Connacht is most-dangerous when running wide angles.

Defensively formidable, only a handful of tackles went begging last weekend and the swarming cover defence on the inside channels meant little came from rare misses. Corrib and Connacht captain Mairtin Lee was dynamite at hooker, and outside centre Jerome Harrimate as useful in the close exchanges forcing Leinster to gamble with the referee’s patience.

Tucked away down in Castleisland, County Kerry, for game three Connacht will have few friends in the deep south.

That said, neither Conboy nor co-coach Cory Brown is looking to expand their social networks and both need no added incentive to come away with as much silverware as they arrived.

Even the most suspect of mathematicians knows the narrowest of victories will do that.

Connacht Abú


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