After an unexpected three week break from action, Connacht head to Edinburgh for a crucial clash in their bid to finish this season’s campaign on a high. Both sides are neck and neck on championship points, and if Connacht want to maintain their ambition for a highest finish in the league, a victory at Murrayfield is essential.
Victories are hard to eke out in Edinburgh - in the last eight visits to the home of Scottish Rugby, Connacht's only victory was 16-13 in 2005, while earlier this season Connacht left victory behind them when Edinburgh got out of the Sportsground with a 24-23 win.
Elwood’s preparations continue to be hampered by injuries, and of course, the lack of a competitive match for two weeks due to the postponement of the Treviso fixture. Definitely out of action are prop Denis Buckley (knee ), Willie Faloon (ankle ), Eoghan Grace (thumb ), Jason Harris-Wright (calf ), Dave McSharry (groin ), Johnny O’Connor (ankle ), and Frank Murphy (knee ), who has returned to light running.
Flu also prevented Andrew Browne, Ronan Lougney, Ethiene Reynecke and James Loxton from taking part in training earlier this week. Connacht had been set to redress their poor performance against Munster when they travelled to Treviso two ago, but the postponement has not helped their cause. “There is no substitute for games, so the interruption has not been kind to us, “ says Elwood, “but it is how we bounce back after that two week break, and that is the challenge for us in this game, particularly away from home.”
Elwood says Connacht are still aiming for a best finish with four games to play. “We are playing Edinburgh below us, and we still have Treviso to play, and that is our intention. We have two tough ones to finish in Glasgow and Ulster, but there is still a hell of a lot to play for in those four games and a lot of things still in our control. We are still looking for that improvement year-on-year and it is very much a target in our sights and it starts this weekend with Edinburgh.”
Connacht launch 2013/2014 season ticket
It has been a busy few weeks with the arrival of Pat Lam and recent signings confirmed. With anticipation already building for next season, Connacht has announced a great value season ticket offer which is available to current holders now. With nearly 4,000 season ticket holders in 2012/13, last year's offer was hailed as one of the best value packages available in the country and prices have only been slightly increased for next season to coincide with the club’s drive to maintain developments at Connacht Rugby.
Current holders can take advantage of a loyalty discount for renewing their season ticket in the early and exclusive renewal period. Current terrace season ticket holders, for example, can secure their ticket for next season for just €200. Another attractive option for season ticket holders is the ability to upgrade to a 'Pavilion Member'. Membership entitles them to access the popular Pavilion Hospitality Suite at the Sportsground both pre and post-match at up to nine RaboDirect matches during the season.
Finally, in a change from previous years, season ticket holders will now receive their cards well in advance of the season kick off. Cards will be sent out or available for collection from June 1 onwards. Due to the popularity of the season tickets a pre-registration phase has been introduced whereby supporters who did not previously hold a season ticket can make sure they do not miss out next season. For details and a full list of all the benefits and prices go to www.connachtrugby.ie/tickets