Sunday 18 February 2018

Keane insists Connacht are close to big performance

Connacht head coach Kieran Keane. Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht head coach Kieran Keane. Photo: Sportsfile

Daragh Small

Connacht coach Kieran Keane is hoping to have finished 'putting a little bit of polish on the rough diamond' in time for his side's trip to the home of the champions this weekend.

A late collapse against Cardiff Blues last time out meant Keane's side fell to a third defeat of his tenure, but he hopes to see his side ignite their season with a show of power at Parc y Scarlets.

Connacht have never won away to Scarlets since their move from Stradey Park, but Keane believes his team are on the brink of a special performance.

"We have reassessed a few things and aired a lot of small issues that probably held us back a little bit, and we have got on with the job," said Keane.

"We haven't been able to lament anything, we aren't feeling sorry for ourselves or anything like that. We are just moving on.

"Decision-making has really been a focal point for us. We have got hard workers, we have got good players and we have got structures that they are coming to grips with which are creating opportunities.

"But we haven't really exploited those yet. It's putting a little bit of polish on the rough diamond which we are looking to achieve," added Keane.

"Wins are great but you generally get what you deserve in this professional sporting world. We are getting there and we will make a statement sooner or later."

Connacht have another lengthy injury list this weekend with lock James Cannon adding to their woes - he picked up a minor thigh strain in training last week - but full-back Tiernan O'Halloran (hip) is set to make his reappearance, although Matt Healy (groin) is still one week away from a comeback.

Out-half Jack Carty started the opening three games of the campaign but didn't even make the replacements bench as Andrew Deegan was handed his debut against Cardiff.

But Keane says that was just a case of giving another player his opportunity to shine as the squad grows in depth.

"Jack was given a break last weekend and another player was given an opportunity to step up," said Keane.

"Young Andrew had a good introduction to the game and he did a good job. As he goes further he will get better. But it was good."

Irish Independent

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