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Jake O'Donnell
Jake O'Donnell

05:07 14 Dec 2019


Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend praised his group of players after their last-gasp heroics to snatch victory against Gloucester at the Sportsgrounds.

A 27-24 victory marked Connacht's second Heineken Champions Cup win this season, but the game could have easily gone the other way if not for Robin Copeland's final dash try.

Friend's troops went into half-time with a 10-7 lead but Gloucester turned that score in their favour, leading 24-13 with six minutes remaining. However, with Gloucester's Lewis Ludlow in the sin bin Connacht pressed with intensity and converted tries from Shane Delahunt and Copeland finally nabbed the win to keep Connacht's Champions Cup hopes alive.

Speaking to Off The Ball's Nathan Murphy after the game Friend said he couldn't take the credit for the last five minutes of brilliance which secured the province's win.

"It's nothing to do with the coaches. We just said in the shed there afterwards we've got a brilliant group of young men here. They don't stop fighting.

"They've got incredible talent and they've just got to continue to find that belief and back themselves but we did win when it mattered. We managed to get that score so we are pretty pleased with that."

The Australian added that it was important to savour the scenes after the final whistle as the Connacht fans belted the Fields of Athenry and lauded their team.

"You don't get too long to enjoy those moments or to savour the special things like that so it's important when they do happen that you do stop to just take a little bit of time and reflect on it.

"There are a lot of sacrifices made by a lot of people and we have a massive InterPro series coming up over the Christmas break so again more sacrifices."

While it was an important victory for Connacht in the end, Friend emphasised that improvements had to be made despite the win.

"There were so many good things out there but we release pressure way too easily and if we can eradicate that then we will become a really good side.

"We gave away silly penalties and we threw another intercepted pass today, ill-discipline. The game is about building pressure and keeping the opposition under pressure and when we did that we really challenged Gloucester."


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Andy Friend Connacht Heineken Champions Cup Sportsgrounds

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