Big weekend for Connacht as Eagles host Newcastle while Elwood's men face HarlequinsOctober 19, 2012 - 7:00am
THE Sportsground will be a lively place on Saturday evening (6pm) as Harlequins return for their much awaited rematch in the Heineken Cup. Thanks to an overly complicated but fairly comfortable 19-10 victory away to new Italian franchise Zebre, Eric Elwood's side come into the game knowing a win will put them top of the pool.
Quins smashed Biarritz with a 40-13 bonus point win last Saturday evening and are clearly in a mood to make amends for last season's surprise exit from this competition at the pool stages after Connacht upset them on the final day with a famous 9-8 victory.
The task is a mammoth one for Connacht, the premiership champions are both forewarned and forearmed coming into the game, while the home team’s form is patchy on the evidence from Parma where missed passes and simple errors meant they didn't convert their dominance into more than the one John Muldoon try.
The recent 34-6 home win over Leinster though is still fresh in the minds and the confidence gained from that triumph over an admittedly understrength visiting side and their win in the rain over Conor O'Shea's men last year will mean they won't doubt themselves. It should be some night and some atmosphere.
B & I Cup
Nigel Carolan's Connacht Eagles side take to the field for their first home game this weekend against the Newcastle Falcons at Dubarry Park on Friday night (7:30) after a narrow and disappointing 18-14 away loss to Newport in east Wales last weekend.
Lansdowne winger Matt Healy scored their try with Tadgh Leader kicking three penalties but the home side just had the edge.
Considering it was their competition debut, it wasn't a bad result but with only the group winner qualifying for the quarter finals, their hopes of qualifying will be slim if they don't upset the odds this weekend.
This, of course, is Newcastle's first team as they were relegated to the Championship last season and it will be their third visit to the west as a club having won on previous trips in the Challenge Cup and pre-season friendly action.
They are yet to lose this season and will be clear favorites against the young Connacht squad but it will be a great test for the home side.
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.