Wednesday 21 February 2018

Higher stakes but Connacht not for turning, insists Healy

Connacht's Matt Healy. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile
Connacht's Matt Healy. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

As the weekend gets nearer, the forecast gets worse but Connacht are refusing to contemplate a change in tactics for their Guinness Pro12 play-off against Glasgow Warriors.

For the second time in three weeks, the Sportsground is set for a deluge when the champions come to town and, having emerged with a 14-7 win last time out, they are ready to go again.

Pat Lam's side did noticeably kick more in that game, but still when the chips were down they took possession during the final minutes and went through their phases, backing their skills.

Tomorrow's game is their first knockout game since their disappointing defeat at the hands of Grenoble in the Challenge Cup. That night, in very different conditions, they twice established big leads only to then give them up through their own inaccuracy as they continued to try to force the issue.

In the aftermath, they drew criticism from former players like Alan Quinlan who urged them to tighten up when ahead and play 'Cup rugby'. Matt Healy was sensational that night and his individual performance deserved a semi-final, yet he has no regrets about the approach.

"In terms of our approach to games, it is always the same and Pat's been driving that since he's come in, since day one," the Lansdowne man said.


"So in that sense we are very much going out this weekend to play our game. Obviously, after that Grenoble game, it kind of hit home to us, that coming into the last few games of the season, we need to tighten up on our defensive game and stuff like that.

"There was a little touch up that we addressed in terms of closing games out. But our approach has always been the same going into any game so I think you can expect more of that this weekend.

"We can draw on certain experiences in the past, even without having won any silverware in the past. But games like that Toulouse game and games like that Leinster game at home, we can really draw on that.

"Even last weekend we can take massive confidence going into this game. That can only benefit us going into this weekend."

With demand for tickets at an all-time high, Healy says the players are embracing the semi-final feeling around Galway.

"It's the biggest game in the club's history and there's a lot at stake. Players are aware of it but we have got to focus on our job and that's what we're going to do," he said.

"It's exciting. The game in itself is very much a motivational factor to get things right. I think we are already looking forward to it.

"It's going to be a completely different challenge this weekend, even though it's the same team."

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