Clan News

Search Our Site

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
Some views on the season opener from the fans around the Sportsground and around the province.

Connacht got the season off to a winning start with a 25-16 defeat of Zebre at the Sportsground on Saturday, and while the Clan faithful were generally happy with the victory, the feeling is that there needs to be some improvement before facing stiffer opposition. 

Pre-match fears among some of an improved Italian side never really materialised, with Zebre not having made any great strides since last season on the basis of the weekend's performance, and although they caused some jitters by coming within a converted try with 20 minutes to go, in the main this was put down to Connacht's failure to turn the screw when they seemed to have control of the scoreboard.

Many fans saw the three-try victory as a missed bonus point, though most admitted that it's a result they certainly would have taken going into the game. There were concerns over the level of errors off first phase ball, but the scrum was dominant early on and the lineout functioned well, with Naoupu claiming several good takes off the Harris-Wright throw. And while Dan Parks had a poor day off the tee, there is no real cause for panic among the huddled masses on this front.

Robbie Henshaw put in a fine man-of-the-match performance to reassure the crowd that he was no one-season-wonder, Fionn Carr made a try-scoring return and Matt Healy justified the Clan's decision to sponsor him by showing some fine pace and getting on the scoresheet.

But the one who really got the terraces murmuring was young Jake Heenan, whose twenty minute cameo is already being touted as the beginning of something special. The 21-year-old former Baby Black skipper wasn't on long enough for a full evaluation, but there were few in the ground who weren't impressed with what they saw. A stolen lineout, some nice offloading and an assured performance all round. The young Kiwi is definitely one to keep an eye on this season.

So all in all, a satisfying start for the Connacht Clan and a hint of cautious optimism being felt ahead of the trip to Cardiff, where Gavin Duffy is set to return but so, ominously, is Alex Cuthbert. Connacht won this fixture last season and really should have closed out the home fixture against the same team, so while the stripy hat wearing, autograph book wielding denizens of the Clan Terrace feel this one is winnable, they know there'll be no free gifts handed out in the Arms Park on Friday.
Log in to comment