Galway 'Shed' has a massive part to play
With Ireland's success in the Six Nations the interest in the latter stages of the European competitions will be heightened, writes Ronan Loughney. And it will be interesting to see the effect of the returning players.
For Connacht, having Kieran Marmion, Bundee Aki and Ultan Dillane back at their disposal will be welcome and timely. The confidence that Aki and Marmion will bring back at these pivotal positions will be vital all week.
In a European week there is always an edge in training and everything clicks up a gear. Connacht will need to pull together one of their best performances of the year to see off Gloucester's firepower up front and out wide.
The supporters always play a vital role, but the heightened importance for the players in cup rugby is always paralleled by the supporters' intensity and the noise in the Sportsground.
Gloucester for years have played with the infamous noise of 'The Shed' giving them that extra edge on visiting teams. In my mind the Clan Terrace now holds a similar potency in intimidating visiting teams and driving momentum behind a Connacht team that is playing well.
The crowd have become accustomed to the ambitious brand of rugby that Connacht try and if the team deliver a performance then the crowd will play their part in sealing a victory.