Sunday 22 April 2018

Ronaldson confident Connacht close to turning tide out west

Craig Ronaldson
Craig Ronaldson
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

CONNACHT back Craig Ronaldson believes that the Westerners are not far away from finding their form, despite their recent poor run of results.

Pat Lam's side have beaten Zebre twice this season, but lost all of their other games and this weekend go to Toulouse at a low ebb after last week's heavy defeat in Edinburgh.

Their Heineken Cup performances have been good so far, but Connacht have not won since the last time they met Zebre in round two.

Their heroic performance in defeat to Saracens seems a long time ago and the New Zealander and his team could do with some restorative performances in Europe over the next seven days.

"We've been looking at it; we have been very close to a lot of good teams this season and so many of those close results could have gone our way," Ronaldson said.

"Even the Edinburgh game – the first half could have gone a lot differently for us and we wouldn't have been chasing the game at the end.

"It's a recurring theme at the moment, I don't think we're playing that badly, but there are moments when we are not consistent and things like discipline and turnovers are killing us. It's close, it's getting there and we just need a big effort from everyone."

With the giants in the Toulouse pack and the skilful operators behind them coming their way, Connacht need to front up at the Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday.

"We have our structures and game plans in place, but then a lot of it comes down to aggression in defence and the hunger," Ronaldson said.

"We're going to need a huge effort for 80 minutes and with guys like Craig Clarke there, he has been doing a great job and is well respected. It is about putting it together out on the pitch."

Speaking at the launch of the Ulster Bank League awards yesterday as the holder of the Division 1A player of the year, Ronaldson has gone up a few levels since helping to guide Lansdowne to the AIL title last season.

The step-up has coincided with Connacht's tough run of form, but even though his first season as a pro is proving difficult, it is all about adapting and learning.

"It is a big challenge, in a way," he admitted. "I was used to being on the winning side most of the time, but it's about developing my game as an out-half to learn to control the game and face these tough defences that are hard to break down."

Irish Independent

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