Wednesday 22 January 2020

Duffy happy to wing it with Connacht 'strangers'

John Fallon

Connacht skipper Gavin Duffy said he got a shock last weekend when he returned after being out injured for two months to find more than half the backline were strangers.

The experienced 31-year-old suffered a hamstring injury in late September, which, aside from a run in the closing moments against Treviso, kept him out until he started on the wing away to Dragons.

But by the time he returned in Wales last weekend, young players such as Robbie Henshaw and Kieran Marmion had broken into the side, while new signings Dan Parks and Danie Poolman, who missed the start of the season through injury, had also nailed down places.

"I had barely trained with them, so it was like a new team. I hadn't even been on the pitch with them before.

"But it is great to be back, especially now as we are heading into a very busy period," said Duffy.

Coach Eric Elwood has selected Duffy on the wing and continued with the promising Henshaw at full-back, but the Connacht skipper played a lot of rugby out wide early in his career.

"It's not that different as there is a lot of inter-changing with the back three covering for each other," said the Ballina native, who has 10 caps.

He hopes they can recover from their disappointing 14-3 loss away to Dragons and get a timely boost ahead of their back-to-back Heineken Cup games against Biarritz by defeating Michael Bradley's Edinburgh on Saturday at the Sportsground.

"There are areas we need to improve on, such as our set-piece, as we know Edinburgh are a formidable team, but we are at our best when we concentrate on getting our own game right," added Duffy.

Irish Independent

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