Preview: Andy Friend looking ahead to Zebre

15 February 2023

Preview: Andy Friend looking ahead to Zebre

The BKT United Rugby Championship is back after a few weeks break with the Six Nations on. This Saturday Connacht travel to Italy where they will take on Zebre at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, kick off is 3:05pm (Irish time).

The Six Nations has been the biggest talking point in rugby over the last few weeks where Ireland have got off to a great start winning their opening two games. Speaking to media ahead of this weekends challenge against Zebre, Connacht Director of Rugby Andy Friend was asked about the form of Finlay Bealham who has delivered two top quality performances for the international side.

"I think outside of Connacht there is still a little bit of unknown about Finlay"

"Up to now he's been coming off the bench in test matches for 25 or 30 mins but these last two weekends he has oppourtunity to start"

"In these last two weeks he has shown he is very capable and he's a talented footballer"

"I thought the performance against France was another polished performance, his work rate, the silky skills these are all thing we see here in Connacht week in week out"

For Andy and his squad all focus will be on the trip to Parma this weekend where they look to make it three wins from three in the URC.

"This is a huge game for us"

"Look Zebre haven't won a game yet but they've pushed a lot of good teams to the wire so we know we need to be on our game to beat these guys because they can hurt you if you let them"

Connacht are able to call upon Caolin Blade and Cian Prendergast for Saturday's game. The two have been with the Irish squad the last week or so but are available for selection this week. David Hawkshaw and Oisin Dowling are both back fit and ready after injury layoffs to play this weekend as well.

The Connacht team for Saturday's game will be announced on Friday.