Now is the time for fans to keep faith
It's been a tough 2017 so far for everyone at Connacht; the players and management have suffered with the way the results went, and the fans too, writes Johnny O'Connor.
But now is the real test. It's great supporting a team when they are constantly winning, and this time last year Connacht were the team to get behind, when they beat Glasgow in the play-off semi-final and beat Leinster at Murrayfield.
A year is a long time in rugby and the objectives are completely different right now, but the fans need to keep the faith. Knock-out rugby can go any way, and this Connacht team are well capable of going to England and pulling off a shock victory.
It would be a shock, because they haven't performed. But that's when a team can really strike. Saying all that, it's crucial the fans row in behind and give them their full support.
The Connacht fans have been brilliant through thick and thin in recent years, but some people may think this team is on the wane. I don't see it that way at all. Connacht have the potential to do great things, and were it not for injuries who knows where they might have got to this season.
But if they can keep their composure in the play-offs it will be back into the Champions Cup next season. And that would be a success.