Connacht swing into action in home clash with Ospreys


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Connacht swing into action in home clash with Ospreys Connacht swing into action in home clash with Ospreys

RUGBY fans still smarting from Ireland’s elimination from the World Cup in France last weekend can console themselves somewhat that the URC kicks-off this weekend, with Connacht welcoming the Opsreys to the Sportsground on Saturday (3pm).

The first three weeks of the new season will provide a bounty for Connacht fans, with their side starting the season with three home games on the spin, a reverse from last season when the replacement of the traditional grass pitch at the Sportsground with an artificial one meant the men in green were on the road for their first three outings.

That said, it won’t exactly be a walk in the park for Pete Wilkins’ outfit, as after the visit of the Welsh side, they host Glasgow in week two, and Irish rivals Ulster in week three.

“We do have to recognise that three homes games is a massive opportunity but that said, no-one is going to give you points just because you are at home,” said Wilkins in his first official pre-match engagement as the new head coach after stepping up to replace Andy Friend.

“We have three very challenging games in Opsreys, Glasgow and Ulster, it is a great opportunity, but one we will have to be very good to make the most of,” he said, before focusing on the first task at hand, the visit of a side they beat 22-19 in Wales last year in the sole meeting between the teams in the 2022/23 season.

“Great, we have three games at home compared to the run of fixtures we had last year, but it is only great if you win them. It is another cliche, but you take it a week at a time, try to get the job done against the Ospreys and reassess after that.

“We have never come up against an Ospreys team that isn’t very physical and isn’t very well organised. We know it will be a very physical game – for all our ambition of what we want to do with the ball, and the way we might want to play the game, first and foremost you have to front-up physically, both in terms of defence in stopping their very momentum with some pretty big ball carriers coming at us, but also in attack in terms of us earing the right to play,” he said.

Pictured: Connacht scrum half Caolin Blade is tackled by Luke Morgan of the Ospreys during their league clash in 2021. The two teams kick-off the new URC season at the Sportsground on Saturday.

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