Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend has said that he and his team are relishing the challenge of Cardiff in the Sportsground on February 15th after a two week rest period for the squad.
The break came after a 13 week in a row run of games that included six Champions Cup games and four interpros in the Pro14. “We went into the break with a strong performance away to Montpellier and while it ended in defeat, we did take a lot of positives from that game. There’s no doubt, that 13 week block did stretch us but the two week break means that the boys come back fresh and ready to challenge for a top three spot in the Pro14. I know we are all really relishing the challenge”,
Cardiff were the visitors to the Sportsground last season when Connacht secured Champions Cup qualification with a win in that corresponding fixture back in April.
In the first installment of the “final five” home games of the season, Friend knows all too well the importance of winning as many home games as possible, especially against Conference rivals; “We are sitting mid table in our conference and it’s a very tight conference but we still have a lot of work to do there. We still have to play Cardiff and Edinburgh twice and Scarlets at home, as well as Benetton away. With all of those teams in our conference its very much all to play for over the next few weeks”,
the Head Coach added.
The break has also meant that some players carrying injuries have got valuable recovery time, with a number of players eyeing a return to action in the coming weeks. “We can’t say who will be fully fit and available for the Cardiff game but Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux and Darragh Leader have all been progressing well and will hopefully feature in the next few weeks”.
Tickets for the clash with Cardiff on February 15th
are available here