Coach Michael Cheika’s Connacht Preview…
April 19, 2010 12:00 am client
Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Interprovincial derby in Galway, Leinster coach MICHAEL CHEIKA said that they are expecting another tough, physical test against an improving Connacht side…
“There are still important league points to play for, so given the closely fought nature of these interpro’ matches, that just serves to sharpen our instincts for what will be a tough match.
“Connacht are one of the most improved teams in Magners League this year and they are in a strong position to win the Amlin Challenge Cup – and are on the verge of qualifying for the Heineken Cup outright – so we’re under no illusion as to what kind of challenge we face this week.
“We made it very clear to each player that over these two games (Connacht and Glasgow) each player in the squad will have an opportunity to wear the blue shirt and they will all relish the opportunity, I’m sure. For one thing, from a players’ point of view they would prefer to play competitive matches at this time of the year than train!
“We’re in a position to welcome back some players into the panel for Wednesday, give others a rest and bench a few others, so that will hopefully ensure an injection of freshness as we approach the business end of the season. With the injured players we will have to wait and see.
“There were a few sore bodies after the Ospreys win so how we manage our resources over the coming days will be hugely important in terms of how we progress in the Magners League, first and foremost.
“If we bring nothing other than our ‘A’ game to Galway then we will struggle. Every game between the two sides is a dogfight. They probably felt that they should have won the reverse fixture at the end of the March in the RDS, so they will look to target us again this week as they always do.
“They dominated the contact area (that day) and showed their capabilities when opportunities came their way that day so the one thing you learn about competing in games like this is that irrespective of league standings and form, there will be physicality, lots of grit and collisions. We have to meet these challenges positively.
“We’re expecting a tough test and Wednesday’s game will be about pride and focus. We have a good run going in the Magners League and we don’t want to let our standards slip.”