With two wins from two in this seasons Challenge Cup Connacht will look to keep their 100% record going this weekend as they face Brive at The Sportsground on Saturday.

Last Saturday saw Connacht beat South African side Sharks in the URC and getting a bonus point win. Speaking ahead of the European tie this weekend Connacht Director of Rugby Andy Friend spoke about the mood in the camp this week.

“With the conditions we had it was lovely to get the win but the bonus point as the name suggests was a bonus” said Friend

“Its very hard to play rugby in those conditions”

“All the scores were slightly different and as a team we felt there was a lot of areas there that we were really happy with coming off the field”

“Our defence was brilliant with a 91% success rate which is the level we’re at and need to keep at”

“Its a happy camp heading into this weeks game but as always we have things to work on”

With everything to play for in both competitions for Connacht Andy feels now is where the squads depth will be really tested especially with a few injuries mounting up.

“Both competitions are important to us and both are still alive, it is good to be back in the Challenge Cup as we are two from two so we would like to continue that momentum”

“In terms of our squad I think the rotation has worked well for us by keeping players fresh”

“We have a few injuries mounting up so we are probably forced to make a couple of changes”

Brive have been in good form of late with three wins from their last three games but with two defeats in the Challenge Cup already questions will be asked about their commitment and if that seeps into the Connacht players mind that this could be an easy day out.

“I think we faced that last week against the Sharks as there was a lot of talk about them resting some of their big players but at the end of the day it was still a Sharks team and we had to be ready” said Friend

“It will be the same for Brive this weekend, post our last game with them they have beaten Clermont, Lyon and Toulon”

“They’re playing good footie and finding that winning mentality and they will be coming here wanting to turn the table on us”

It was announced this week that Connacht’s Attack and Skills coach Mossy Lawler is heading to Munster at the end of the season. The departure will see two of Connacht’s coaching setup leave with this season being Andy Friend’s final season with the province.

“Mossy has been brilliant during his time here at Connacht” said Friend

“As we know he’s a Limerick man, his family is in Limerick so its great he can be closer to his wife and kids”

“I’m pleased for Mossy that he has this opportunity to move home”

“He will be missed here no doubt about that”

“In terms of the wider coaching ticket there’s a process in place at the moment and I have no doubt it will be a strong coaching ticket next year”

Tickets for Saturday’s game available HERE

The pool draws for the European Challenge Cup competition was held in Dublin today with our opponents confirmed.

Connacht Rugby were drawn in Pool A where we will take on CA Brive Rugby and Newcastle Falcons both home and away.

2022/23 weekends 

Round 1 – 9/10/11 December 2022

Round 2 – 16/17/18 December 2022

Round 3 – 13/14/15 January 2023

Round 4 – 20/21/22 January 2023

Round of 16 – 31 March/ 1/2 April 2023

Quarter-finals – 7/8/9 April 2023

Semi-finals – 28/29/30 April 2023

EPCR Challenge Cup final – Friday 19 May 2023 at Aviva Stadium, Dublin

The Connacht management team have released the following squad update following last week’s pre-season friendly away to Brive.

 

Hooker:
Tom McCartney sustained a recent ankle injury in training and is progressing well with a return to training planned for early September.

Jonny Murphy sustained a rib injury in the game versus Brive last week and his progress will be monitored by the medical team this week.

 

Lock:
Peter Claffey sustained a calf injury in preseason and is due to return to training in early September.

Gavin Thornbury sustained a shoulder injury in preseason and is due to return to full training in early September.

 

Back Row:
Robin Copeland sustained a recent hip injury in training and is currently undergoing rehabilitation with the medical and fitness team with a planned return in the coming weeks.

Eoghan Masterson sustained a hand injury in the game versus Brive last week and will undergo surgery this week with his return date to be confirmed post surgery.

 

The Connacht starting XV to take on Wasps at Dubarry Park, Athlone this Saturday (k/o 3pm) will be named later today.

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