Connacht are moving in the right direction despite losing to Toulouse in the Heineken Champions Cup, according to Alan Quinlan.
The former Ireland international praised Connacht on Monday's OTB AM after the opening two rounds of Champions Cup rugby.
While Andy Friend’s side eventually succumbed to a 15-point defeat, they put in a brave performance and can take plenty of positives from the game.
“I think they were so positive in the way they tried to play and maybe at times they should have been a bit more pragmatic.
“Because they made a few mistakes which led to turnovers and Toulouse pressure then after that.
“But I thought to be that brave and go to Toulouse says a lot about the positivity in the group given the amount of injuries they’ve had.
“They’re the worst affected with injuries at the moment. I thought they were fantastic. They were under the pump for sure but they showed incredible character.
“Before the game you fear the worst don’t you? You think it could be 20, 30, 40 points if Toulouse get into their flow. There were so many positives for them to take away from that,” Quinlan said.
Connacht are back on track
While Connacht probably aren’t quite back to their 2016 peak when they won the Pro12, they look primed to challenge for silverware again.
“It’s about getting depth in the squad as well but it’s also about the way they play. They play with a real positivity and creativity and they’re executing really well. So the perception of Connacht has changed hugely in the last number of years.
“You think back to when they won the Pro12 - I think they obviously dropped a bit after [Pat] Lam went under Kieran Keane but I think Andy Friend has done a really good job of getting the best out of players.
“Their goal and their challenge is to get into that knock-out stages and into that quarter-final. It’s a process that these performances and these experiences will stand to them in the future,” Quinlan said.
Connacht play the Southern Kings in the Pro14 this Saturday before their attention shifts back to Europe with back-to-back games against Gloucester in what could make or break their Champions Cup season.