Pete Wilkins:The Italian job

29 March 2023

Pete Wilkins:The  Italian job

Its a European Rugby week as Connacht get ready for a trip away to Italy this weekend where they take on Benetton at Stadio Comunale di Monigo, kick-off on Saturday is 3pm Irish time.

Connacht head into the game on the back of an impressive win at the weekend against Edinburgh in the URC. The win saw Connacht maintain their unbeaten run which strecthes to five games domestically.

Head coach Pete Wilkins feels Saturday's win at home to the Scottish side was one of their most impressive this season.

"Its certainly up there as one of our best"

"There are still elements we need to improve on from that game which we discussed in the team review but I think that's a good thing as we know we can get better"

"It was a satisfying performance and I thought we deserved that bonus point victory"

During a period of that game Connacht were down to 13 men. Pete felt the players showed calm heads when under pressure.

"During that period Edinburgh had a big sway of momentum but guys just stuck to the process and the task in hand"

"That period of being under pressure was all about being quick off the ground and being ahead of time, as dangerous as Edinburgh are in attack I felt if we good get our shape we could handle it"

"The lads zoned in on that moment to moment really well during that time"

As focus turns to this game, Connacht will be without a few players through injury.

"Jack Carty won't be available unfortunately due to a hamstring issue"

"Its not a major injury but we won't have him this weekend"

"Its probably a week too soon for Denis Buckley but we do have Tiernan O'Halloran back fit plus Mack and Bundee returning"

Connacht have faced Benetton once already this season when the two met in Galway. That day Connacht came out on top winning 38-19, however, Pete knows the Italian side are a completely different side at home.

"Its a big challenge, they have a lot of Italian internationals returning, their a team that thrives at home"

"There's a big difference playing them over there compared to here in Galway"

"They're a big team physically and tackle well so they are hard to breakdown"

"This is a game we feel we can win"

"We have to respect the prepartion in terms of getting the guys right after Saturday's game against Edinburgh"

"We need to make sure we get our travel right and then have a really smart game plan for when we are over there"

This week Connacht announced John Muldoon will be returning as part of the coaching team for next season.

"I'm thrilled he's coming on board" said Wilkins

"I've maintained contact with Mul since I coached him which was his final season and my first season"

The Connacht team for Saturday will be announced on Friday.