Tom McCartney has played 15 games for Connacht Rugby, starting 14, since his arrival in Galway from Auckland just five months ago. He’s worn the number 2 jersey in the ‘big occasion’ interpro games and a Challenge Cup quarter final but reckons this week’s game against league leaders Glasgow Warriors is up there with one of the biggest:

“These are the games you want to be playing in – these big games against the top teams when your season goals are on the line, ” said McCartney this week. “That’s what it’s all about as a rugby player.

 “It’s exciting. You want to be in this position, at this end of the season, playing the games that mean something. Our goal is to nail that top 6 spot and it’s still in our control if we can go out and play really well, starting with this week.“

At age 29, McCartney is considered one of the more senior and experienced players in Pat Lam’s side but says he enjoys the added responsibility up front:

“Myself and guys like Aly (Muldowney) and John (Muldoon) have got to go out there and have really good games and lead from the front. It’s not about doing anything over the top or special but it’s important to lead by example and be really solid in your performances. If we can do that, the younger guys can feed off it and that goes a long way.

“The set piece and physicality are going to be very important for us come Saturday but at the end of the day it’s still a game of rugby and we need to be spot on with the basics first and foremost.

Connacht have lost just two PRO12 games at the Sportsground this season and McCartney believes the fans have played a key part in the success at home, with the passionate atmosphere unlike anything that he has experienced in New Zealand.

“They’ve been brilliant, ” he exclaimed. “The stadium’s not the biggest but, compared to some of the stadiums I’ve played in back home, it’s a lot more intense just because they’re so close, and so passionate.

“They’re singing the songs throughout and if you can get on top of a team in the last 20 minutes or so then they really roar behind you and that really helps you get over the line. So hopefully come the second half we’re putting Glasgow under pressure, we can get the crowd going and they can help us get over the line again.”

Connacht v Glasgow Warriors
Saturday 25th April
The Sportsground
Kick off 13:05

Tickets for Connacht v Glasgow are available online from tickets.ie, from Centra & SuperValu stores province-wide or from the Connacht Rugby ticket office located at the Sportsground (Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm).

Come early and enjoy the Family Fun Zone at the Sportsground before the match.

There will be lots of Family fun to be had with activities lined up such as:

Tackle cage, Speed cage, Target cage, Reaction challenge, 10-meter agility sprint and face painting.

There will even be some prizes and goodies for the kids that get involved!

 

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