Friday 17 November 2017

Player Diary: Buoyed by winning streak, but we know we'll need more in Glasgow

Denis Buckley and his Connacht team-mates have been back to the grindstone at training this week Picture: Sportsfile
Denis Buckley and his Connacht team-mates have been back to the grindstone at training this week Picture: Sportsfile

Denis Buckley

It was back to the Sportsground and the daily grind this week, but I can't wait to get going again. We're all pumped up and ready to go for our clash with Glasgow next weekend.

It was so important to get the few days' break at the same time.

Physically you recover quickly enough and once it's two or three days after a game I would feel fine. I'm lucky I don't have any niggles at the moment.

But in terms of the mental side of things a week away seems like a long time and it's really refreshing. That mental break can stand to you and gives you a boost when you need it. After a week off you are looking forward to getting back into it, and that's always going to help you when it comes to the business end of the season.

On Monday we came in, had our meeting first thing followed by weights in the morning and then skills in the afternoon.

We looked at some new technical things we would be tweaking and trying out for the Glasgow game.

In the afternoon we had a skills session on the pitch and put into practice some of the elements we will be looking to implement going forward.

Split

Then on Tuesday we split our weights sessions in the gym between backs and forwards in the morning. In the afternoon we had our contact session.

Wednesday was our down day where you get in your bit of physio and massage.

Yesterday we had another pitch session in the afternoon, fine-tuning some of the sessions from Monday and Tuesday.

And today will be similar again, in terms of putting more clarity on everything. The build-up for the Glasgow game couldn't be better. The two weeks give us a good opportunity, where if there are new plays they will be really in-bedded among the squad. Everyone will be fresh.

There are more guys back from injury now as well. That competition is crucial. It drives standards in training.

We are coming into this next block of four games on the back of winning four in a row so we have a good bit of confidence and momentum. We are playing well and getting the results.

We still have to improve, though. With all due respect to those teams from before, we have some very tough games coming up, starting with Glasgow. They are consistently one of the top teams in the league, even if they are not up at the top right now. But we are excited for that challenge on their artificial pitch.

We played on Cardiff's 4G pitch a few weeks back, and it just makes everything faster and more open. It suits our players and our team strategy that bit more too.

We know we will have to be better than when we played over in Cardiff, though. We were 13-0 down at one stage in that game, and if we have that type of start against Glasgow it will be curtains.

But if we do put in a good 80-minute performance, we believe we can get an important win. At this stage of the season every single point is going to count. We are going over there to win and to try and score tries as well.

Glasgow have more lads in the Six Nations than we do. It probably is more of an advantage for us that we can prepare as a full squad.

But Glasgow are always going to be a classy side no matter who they have on the field. The guys who aren't playing for Scotland would have been preparing their own game-plan this week.

They have a lot of guys away on Six Nations duty but they have a very big squad to chose from, including other internationals from different countries. Those southern hemisphere guys will all be in this week preparing to take us down.

While we face into another weekend with no Pro12 game, Ireland are back in action in another crucial Six Nations game against England at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow.

It was a tough result for them to take in Cardiff last time out, but with Ireland hosting England in Dublin, there is no way they will go down without a fight.

Ireland will be extremely motivated even if the championship has already been decided. It's going to be a great match with two teams determined to win at all costs.

Irish Independent

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