Wednesday 14 November 2018

Dillane keen to maintain unbeaten run against Reds

Connacht lock Ultan Dillane. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Connacht lock Ultan Dillane. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Player welfare protocols could yet scupper his chances, but Connacht lock Ultan Dillane will be hoping to continue his remarkable run of results against Munster if he gets the nod for Saturday's clash at Thomond Park.

Dillane, who grew up in Kerry, has never lost professionally to Munster in four meetings, a remarkable statistic given that Connacht have only beaten them five times in the league.

Dillane was just in his second year as a 13-year old with Tralee RFC when Connacht scored their first win over Munster in the professional era - a 12-6 festive triumph at the Sportsground in 2008 when current Munster out-half Ian Keatley kicked four penalties to win it.

Dillane (below) made his debut a couple of weeks before Connacht beat Munster 24-16 three years ago and was also involved when they did the double over them on their way to winning the PRO12 title in 2016.

He again played a key role earlier this season as Connacht won 20-16 at the Sportsground, while Dillane has sat out all three losses to Munster since his debut against Leinster three years ago at the RDS.

He returned there on New Year's Day and was left ruing the chance to guide Connacht to their first ever win at the venue, but he firmly believes they are making progress.

"Definitely, there's a few people starting to find their voice and getting through tough moments together.

"It's working for us in some parts, but as you saw at the end of that game the composure wasn't there. At least we know the direction we're going in, hopefully we can build on that now," he said.

The 24-year-old, who has chalked up 11 Irish caps since making his debut off the bench against England in the Six Nations in February 2016, regretted that they couldn't make a last-gasp 28-phase onslaught count in a 21-18 loss.

"It just wasn't going to go our way with that, we didn't keep our composure and help each other out to shake that 'D'. There's a few things to work on.

"We're building week to week which is a nice feeling but we'll be disappointed by that one," added the Paris-born lock.

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