Saturday 21 April 2018

We have gone back to basics to sort lineout woes - Duffy

Connacht coach Jimmy Duffy. Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht coach Jimmy Duffy. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

Connacht forwards' coach Jimmy Duffy says his team have gone back to basics as they look to cure a faltering lineout.

The lineout was one of the main platforms last season for Connacht in their historic Pro12 title win but the loss of Aly Muldowney to Grenoble has left a big hole to fill. The champions have struggled in the league this season and they are eighth after 12 games as they look to do without Ireland lock Ultan Dillane again this weekend.

Heading into tomorrow's crunch Champions Cup tie against Zebre, Connacht could also be missing fellow Irish second-row Quinn Roux, but Duffy says Connacht have been more impressive in training. And with their European fate in their own hands Connacht will look for a bonus-point win over the Italians at the Sportsground before they face the daunting task of playing Toulouse in France.

Niggles

"It's the same between the backs and the forwards, you would love everybody to be fit and available. But the nature of it is guys pick up knocks and niggles and we manage that over the course of the week," said Duffy.

"A player of Quinn's ability, you would like to have him fit and available but if that's not the case we have plenty of able-bodied guys who can step in and do a good job also. Ultan is a quality player and adds a lot to our squad, so it's great that he doesn't need the extended period on the sideline that we once thought."

It is a massive boost for Connacht and Ireland that Dillane could be back fit and available in less than a month. But Connacht lost five of their 15 lineouts in their 29-7 defeat at Ospreys last weekend. Their scrum continues to work wonders, but Duffy believes players need to focus on the basics to put the lineout back on track.

"It's a culmination of system errors and role errors. The biggest one at the weekend was just execution. We had one or two in a row and just gives the lads a bit of doubt," he said.

"But we regrouped at half-time and set out the stall for the second half. I was happy with the way it progressed in the second half."

Irish Independent

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