Tuesday 26 September 2017

Connacht aiming to make it five wins

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

Declan Rooney

Connacht will be hoping to claim just a third away win against English sides in the professional era when they take on Northampton Saints tomorrow in the play-off semi-final to reach next season's Champions Cup.

Trips across the Irish Sea have made for slim pickings for Connacht over the years, although one of the two wins in England have come against tomorrow's opposition.

In the 1997 European Conference, Connacht claimed a memorable double victory over the Lions-laden Northampton Saints, including a 20-15 win at Franklin's Gardens.

While there have been two away wins to enjoy there has also been 19 away defeats to English sides in European competitions. Most recently, Wasps inflicted a 32-17 defeat on Connacht last December in the Champions Cup.

In fact, the last Connacht win in England came against Worcester Warriors back in the Challenge Cup of 2009-'10, a team that Connacht have also beaten twice at the Sportsground over the years.

But if there is some solace, Northampton have not fared too well against Irish provinces of late. A 37-10 home defeat to Leinster last December was followed by a 60-13 loss at the Aviva Stadium the following week. Leinester also doled out a heavy beating to Saints at Franklin's Gardens at the end of 2013, while Ulster also won there 12 months earlier.

In the previous year's competition Munster ran riot at Saints' home ground and claimed a 51-36 victory. What price a fifth consecutive home defeat to Irish provinces?

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport