To kick off his fourth season at the Sportsground, Danie Poolman has kept his try-scoring form from last year and touched down for three tries in as many games.

The 26-year-old, who will wear the Connacht jersey for the 60th time this Friday night against Zebre, said he’s enjoying the successful start to the season:

“It’s been a good start alright and we’re relishing the high-scoring games. The backs, especially, have been training a lot of the moves and they’re coming off in games. The one I caught on the wing against Cardiff, for example, had been hammered away in training. We changed it up a few times, and that was the end product. It was brilliantly done by the forwards, sucking the defenders in, and then great hands from the backs – Jack, Bundee and Rory – and it was just great to be on the end of it.

“As a wing, that’s probably at the top of your job description – finishing. And you can only do that with the guys inside you working to create space which they’ve done really well in the last few games so I definitely have a few beers to buy.  It’s great scoring tries, but I’m just finishing off good team work.”

Following another week’s break due to the Rugby World Cup scheduling, the squad were back in on Monday in good spirits as they prepare to hit the ground running ahead of a 16-week run of consecutive games.

Most of the boys went away last week and there were some good stories coming back from the break. I think everyone did a bit of their own training as well and we had a really good session on Monday. It’s a short week so everyone is keen to get back in quickly and start this 16-game block with a win.

“We were obviously a bit upset about the Glasgow result but we moved on quickly and got five points against Cardiff. They had been a bit of bogey team for us the past few seasons so it was good to get one back on them.“

With a heavy work schedule to come, head coach Pat Lam has stated the need to use the whole squad throughout a demanding period. With more players pushing for selection, the competition has intensified:

From my point of view on the wing, there is just so much competition. Darragh and Niyi are back from injury now; Fionn is doing really well and Tiernan can slot in on the wing too. A lot of guys are playing and training well and all over the park, there’s a lot more competition. We can rotate the team and we know guys will step in to the jersey and do well.”

Danie has filled in at centre in the past but he is content to stay on the wing, with Rory Parata from the Academy impressing in midfield:

“Obviously Rory is doing really well there and we’re really happy for him. We all knew he had the skills and he has really stepped up defensively and with his decision making. My preferred position is definitely on the wing but if needed I’d switch into the centre. I learnt a lot from playing there last season. Defending now on the wing, I know what my centre needs.”

With three out of the next four games to be played at home before the switch to European action, Danie maintains that the team should be making home advantage count:

“Having a home game first up is great and then we have two out of the next three after that so we’re looking forward to building on our home record. We can’t wait to get going again.”

Connacht v Zebre
The Sportsground
Friday October 16th
Kick off 7:30pm

Get your match tickets here.




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