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Connacht to atone at home

COACH Eric Elwood had to suffer the high of Harlequins and the low of Toulouse in the past two weeks. His shallow squad would have been beaten-up and demoralised at the start of the week.

There is comfort in not having to travel away. Wounds can be nursed. Egos can be nurtured. They wanted Heineken Cup rugby. Now, they know what it is all about.

The leaders may have shipped a number of high-profile Welsh internationals in the close season. But, their squad is, arguably, a tighter bunch for the experience. They have the players who want to play for the jersey.

They have made the cardinal error of beating French powerhouse Biarritz at home and drawn away to Treviso in the Europe. It will be difficult to shake the after-effects of the disastrous 26-all draw in Italy.

Connacht can seize on this opportunity in a game that will be all about which club can overcome the heartbreak of Heineken disappointment. Home advantage could just swing it.

Connacht v The Ospreys, The Sportsground, Saturday (KO 6.30) TG4

Verdict: Connacht