Lam: We're ready for marathon
Connacht coach Pat Lam has urged supporters to brace themselves for a feast of rugby over the next four months as his side head into a marathon 16 games in a row.
The campaign may be disrupted so far and while the World Cup heads into its business end, Connacht and all the other professional sides across Europe are setting out on an unprecedented succession of games.
"It's unheard of in any competition but we have known it is going to happen and we have prepared accordingly and are looking forward to it.
"We are going to have to manage the squad really well and that's why we brought in so many players from the academy," said Lam.
Players and management took this week off after reviewing the win over Cardiff Blues on Monday but will return to the Sportsground next Monday and get struck into the most demanding schedule any of them has endured.
The run of 16 games will be evenly split with eight at the Sportsground and eight away from home between now and the end of January.
Three of the next four Pro12 matches will be at home against Zebre, Edinburgh and Treviso which will give Connacht a great chance of enhancing their encouraging start to the season which has seen them haul 11 points out of a possible 15.
The only away match before the Challenge Cup campaign starts will be away to Ospreys in a lunchtime kick-off on October 24.
The Challenge Cup games away to Enisei and at home to Brive will be followed by two more rounds of the Pro12.
Both of these will be away from home, in Thomond Park against Munster on November 28 and then in Cardiff the following Friday, before European action resumes with the back-to-back clashes with Newcastle.
Then there will be Irish derbies away to Ulster on St Stephen's Day and at home to Leinster on New Year's Day.
A trip to Llanelli for the first of two January meetings with Scarlets will follow on January 10 before Challenge Cup action resumes with a trip to Brive and a home clash against the Russians.
The 16-match marathon will end with a home clash against Scarlets at the end of January, with the first weekend in January free before a four-week block of games.