After the game at the High-Performance Centre at the Sport Ireland campus, the Westerners will face Munster on September 5th at St Mary’s RFC at 3 PM. Finally, the series will conclude with a meeting with Ulster at MU Barnhall on September 11th at 1 PM.
Due to the pandemic, many of the Connacht squad members haven’t played competitive rugby in eighteen months -- while the remainder of the playing personnel have been without a game since last September -- and Gow says they are eager to get started once again, especially after a proposed challenge game two weeks ago was cancelled.
“We can do as much training as we want, but the players and the coaches we’re just ready for a game now,” he said.
“We’re just really ready to get into a game and get that hit out and put everything that we have been working on in training in place.
“When I get on the side of the pitch on Sunday and the referee is about to blow the whistle, and Leinster and Connacht are about to get kick-off, I’ll let out a sigh of relief saying ‘we got here and the game is going to be played’. We’re going to go out and enjoy it and put everything we’ve been working on together and we’ll see where that takes us.”
With twelve different Connacht branch affiliated clubs represented in the squad, the talent within the province as a whole can be seen. Gow credits the work of the clubs and their members in developing players over the course of the last few years.
“There is a really good spread of players that we have got,” he said.
“Again, it just shows the work that the clubs have been putting in as well as the club coaches, all the volunteers, the managers, the youth coaches and coordinators that are involved. And all the different programmes, like Give it a Try, you can see there are players who have fully come through the club system -- right up from minis through youths -- and will go onto adult level after this series.
“It’s great to see. It truly is the four corners of the five counties represented in the squad.”
With Gow as Head Coach, the coaching and management team is completed by
Natalie Fox - Rugby Logistics Manager
Luke O'Donnell - Assistant Coach (Defence Focus)
William Johnstone - Assistant Coach (Contact Skills & Lineout)
Craig Hansberry - Assistant Coach (Scrum Focus)