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Connacht Rugby returned to Russia yesterday evening ahead of a challenge fixture against the Russian national side in Moscow's newly developed VTB Arena on Saturday evening (5pm Irish time).
Irish rugby lost a long-time advocate this week with the passing of Galway's Dr Anthony (Tony) Browne.
"Disappointed men and some tears" was the natural response in the immediate aftermath of Connacht's 21-13 loss to Ulster in this season's Guinness PRO14 quarter-final, but the club can reflect on more positives, none more so than achieving its primary aim of qualifying for Champions Cup rugby for only the second time on merit.
Unashamedly and deservedly, the ‘Fields of Athenry’ was ringing loud and clear in Kingspan Stadium seven months ago. The hurt and frustration of failing to record a single win against Ulster in Belfast in 59 years ended - a ghost laid to rest at last.
Connacht's impressive development this season will be put to the test tomorrow at 3pm when play-off rivals Cardiff hit the Sportsground for the penultimate PRO14 conference fixture.
Connacht's impressive development this season will be put to the test on Saturday (3pm) when play-off rivals Cardiff hit the Sportsground for the penultimate PRO14 conference fixture.
The stakes are getting higher for Connacht as they head into this evening's European quarter-final against English premiership side Sale at the AJ Bell Stadium (7.45pm) and coach Andy Friend insists his side will continue to push the boundaries.
The stakes are increasing as the penultimate European pool fixtures take place this weekend, and the Sportsground will host a key game when Sale arrive in Galway on Saturday (3pm).
Connacht coach Andy Friend believes securing a win against Perpignan at the Sportsground (3pm) this weekend in the European Challenge Cup is important to continue the momentum the province has built up over their last three matches as they head into one of the busiest times of the season.
Connacht coach Andy Friend says his players are ready for whatever the Cheetahs and the conditions of Bloemfontein will throw at them whenever kick-off comes around on Saturday at the Toyota Stadium.