Friday 20 September 2019

Keane warns against pre-break complacency

Connacht head coach Kieran Keane. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Connacht head coach Kieran Keane. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Connacht coach Kieran Keane has warned his men not to prematurely go into holiday mode prior to playing the Cheetahs at the Sportsground tomorrow night, writes John Fallon.

Keane's fears are well founded as Connacht's record in the final fixture before the November break is dreadful, having won it just four times since the league started 17 years ago.

Two home wins over Treviso are all that have broken the cycle of defeats in the final game before the November internationals since they defeated Scarlets in 2009.

And with players enjoying a week off after the Cheetahs game, Keane has put his men on a red alert not to switch off.

"That is well and truly flagged by KK," said assistant coach Nigel Carolan.

"On Monday that was his big focus, 'stay on task, lads'. It will be disappointing if we go into holiday mode without doing the job on Saturday. All of the players are well aware of it and have been really focused on it so far."

Connacht go into tomorrow night's clash on the back of three straight wins, including two in the European Challenge Cup as well as last weekend's 20-16 victory over Munster, and Carolan said that completing this block with another victory would be a big boost to the squad and their new coaching team.

"It is the tenth game of a block of ten. It's been a bit of slog, the start was tough for us. We had a good pre-season and there has been no excuse over pre-season why we started slowly.

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"It's just been a new way of doing things and it takes time to knit things together, to get guys to buy in and deliver on what is expected of them.

"But the players have certainly enjoyed the methodology. They have enjoyed the philosophy of how the game is being played. It's starting to come together."

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