Indeed a faux pas on my part, there are of course two Irish teams in European contention this weekend. Contact travel to Kingsholm to take on Gloucester at 7.45 this evening and a win would be a massive leap towards solidifying this as their best season in their history. Returning to the Connacht fold is Robbie Henshaw after an inspired Six Nations and alongside the big hitters of Mils Muliaina and Danie Poolman the Westerners should be fit to make this a cracking game.
The Pro 12 may stand with more relevance to Pat Lam and his men given that it is crucial to their European chances next year but rugby waits for nobody and the fact is that Connacht are potentially three games from finally obtaining some silverware. Alongside the trio mentioned above, Craig Ronaldson has recovered from illness to slot onto the bench and Tiernan O’Halloran slips into fullback all as part of an electric looking back line behind a pack containing the teak tough John Muldoon and Quinn Roux.
On the opposite end of the pitch though Gloucester are running with anything but small fry. Jonny May, Billy Twelvetrees, John Afoa, Richie Hibbard and James Hook to name a few – they may not all necessarily be in their prime but hallmark names nonetheless. Up until the last few weeks Connacht looked damn near untouchable, winning the unwinnables and staying unbeaten in Galway for the longest time. Unfortunately squad depth has poked through in this later stage of the season and if anything were to let them down tonight you would think this is it.
Across the pitch the talent is there to take this game but it does look as though Connacht could be found wanting against Gloucester, unless maybe that Henshaw fella has bottled some of the magic of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign. For now though I can’t help but play it safe.
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