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Elwood: I'm able to handle criticism

ERIC ELWOOD'S Connacht are approaching breaking point.

New year, same old story. It is 11 straight defeats now and the end is nowhere near nigh.

The Heineken Cup champions await tomorrow in Galway. Then, the best team in England. Then, the best team in France. The only relief can be attained with a win. But wins are harder to come by with each passing week.

Two weeks ago, they scared the life out of Gloucester in Kingsholm but a good performance was undone by an individual error four minutes from salvation. A week later, Connacht sensed opportunity against a weakened Munster; their performances, individually and collectively, dipped alarmingly.


Gloucester, meanwhile, thumped Wasps 49-10. Bryan Redpath probably sent Elwood a Christmas card. Connacht are now a tonic for other teams' crises while their own becomes more intractable.

Elwood is in the firing line, but, he reasons: "I am fortunate I have good people around me -- we value people's opinion on the coaching staff and we are very positive.

"It is difficult, yeah, there is no doubt.

"Being the head coach, it is my name that is out there and it is my ass there to be kicked, but that is what I signed up for.

"It's tough coming into work sometimes, but that's the nature of the business we are in. I have good people around me and guys are willing to work hard. If you are willing to work hard and you persevere, hopefully it will turn around.

"It is difficult at times, I'd be telling you a lie if it was otherwise, but I try to stay positive and try to get the best out of everybody around me."