Saturday 21 April 2018

Forget about the errors: it's time for tries

All is not lost, but bonus point win is a must for the boys next week

Aly Muldowney, Connacht, is tackled by Jonny Gray, Glasgow Warriors. Guinness PRO12, Round 20, Connacht v Glasgow Warriors (Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE)
Aly Muldowney, Connacht, is tackled by Jonny Gray, Glasgow Warriors. Guinness PRO12, Round 20, Connacht v Glasgow Warriors (Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE)

Johnny O'Connor

From watching that Connacht game against Glasgow, they got us really excited in the first 20 minutes and I suppose the supporters would have been thinking, 'Connacht are going to do this'.

They came out, ran hard, attacked and they built up points on the board. It was 6-0 to Connacht early on and I thought they could really build on that start with the opportunities they were getting and all of the pressure they were applying.

When you watch the game and you have an understanding of what you're seeing, like that scrum where they had an early shunt. That was more points lost.

Then when the teams were coming into half-time I couldn't believe that scoreline. It was 19-6 to Glasgow and when you consider the amount of possession Connacht had and how well they played in the first 20 minutes, it was bit of a shock really.

Unfortunately, the small errors cost Connacht on the day; they are just little things but certainly they should have put some more points on the board when they were in the ascendancy.

They couldn't really say they missed too many chances in the first-half because they were difficult kicks and you couldn't blame Jack Carty when he's missing narrowly from their 10-metre line.

There's no player that has 100 per cent accuracy throughout the year, but certainly getting into those zones, with that scrum and that early shove - that's the opportunities you need to take.

This is a young team and an inexperienced one; in time they will learn from their mistakes. When they get it right they have played some incredible rugby this season: accurate, fast, entertaining and, most importantly, winning rugby.

It's a difficult one for Connacht because it's coming to the most important time of the season and they are coughing up points because of errors. I know the players will be disappointed in themselves, knowing that collectively they are better then what they are showing.

Although Glasgow had more experience, Connacht were still in a position to go into that game leading at half-time.


If Robbie Henshaw's pass hadn't been intercepted, it might have been different. But the very best teams don't get caught out like that.

But even with the first-half domination from Connacht there was no doubt who deserved to win that game and let's not forget Glasgow had two guys in the sin-bin during the second half.

At that stage you were thinking there are opportunities here for Connacht to put points on the board. But that's where they fell down, it went completely flat when Carty missed that penalty at 19-13.

Had he got that kick it would have ramped up the pressure on Glasgow. Connacht didn't really offer much with regards to attacking intent after that.

Danie Poolman came into it towards the end of the game on the wing but the result was way beyond Connacht at that stage.

After trying so hard like that, to create so many scoring chances and not to take them, and to see you opponent win off scraps, is very hard for a team to take. The lads just looked pretty dejected at that point.

It's demoralising when you are losing games time and again like that, but you have to get back on the horse and you have to get on with it. I know that's a bit of a cliché but that is the reality at the moment - they've lost games but there is still something to play for.

You need to carry on and give as much as you can towards the end of the season and then you never know what might happen. Nothing is lost yet because there's still a chance Connacht can finish seventh, or even sixth, if things go their way.

It would be a lot more difficult to pick themselves up again if there was no chance to qualify for the top competition. But if they lose against Zebre then it'll be completely demoralising.

Connacht have got to move on and just prepare for the next game like they have all year. Zebre presents a chance for them; I think they will get five points from it.

They need to win the game first, but certainly they have to get a bonus-point win and hope results go their way elsewhere.

And that would make for a very interesting last day in the Pro12.

Irish Independent

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