Monday 20 August 2018

Crunch time for Connacht's European hopes

David Heffernan of Connacht. Photo: Sportsfile
David Heffernan of Connacht. Photo: Sportsfile

independent.ie Sportsdesk

Crunch time for Connacht.

With their conference featuring a buoyant South African side, even their lowly fifth placing hasn't ruled them out of the Champions Cup play-off equation. Yet.

Defeat tonight would almost certainly do so, as the Ospreys not only enjoy a one-point advantage heading into tonight's fixture but also the luxury of an extra game during a considerably less punitive run-in.

"We see the season as very much alive," says assistant coach Peter Wilkins, "but we need to make sure we perform and put Ospreys under pressure. They are a similar side to what we encountered last week."

The evidence of that game would hardly suggest they are capable of reversing the downward trend.

Verdict: Ospreys

Ospreys - D Evans; J Hassler, K Fonotia, A Beck, H Dirksen; D Biggar, T Habberfield; N Smith, S Otten, D Arhip; B Davies, A Wyn Jones (capt); G Mercer, S Cross, J King. Reps: I Phillips; R Jones, M Fia, A Beard, M Morris, M Aubrey, S Davies, O Watkin.

Connacht - T O'Halloran; N Adeolokun, E Griffin, P Robb, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, S Delahunt, C Carey; U Dillane, J Cannon; S O'Brien, J Butler (capt), E McKeon. Reps: D Heffernan, P McCabe, D Robertson-McCoy, G Thornbury, J Muldoon, C Blade, C Ronaldson, D Leader.

Ref - B Whitehouse (WRU)

Connacht v Ospreys,

Live, TG4, 7.30

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