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Connacht must bag Zebre bonus

THIS is not exactly the type of match-up that encompasses the European Cup. The Italians are a brand new club manufactured out of thin air. Connacht are in their second season in the competition.

The Western Province must start as they mean to continue. Four points are non-negotiable; five are almost imperative.

These two minnows of Pool Three will not be expected to seriously test the mettle of English champions Harlequins or French under-achievers Biarritz Olympique.

The brouhaha over the decision of Eric Elwood (pictured left) to exit the club at the end of the season is a red herring. He has given all of himself over to Connacht for more than two decades.

In fact, Elwood's decision to depart will infuse his players - they are incredibly loyal to him - with a 'one last shot' mentality at some sort of glory for their coach.

Connacht played in patches to beat Zebre 30-17 in the PRO12 at the same venue last month. They couldn't get the bonus-point then. They really need it now.

Verdict: Connacht