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...Tim Allnutt with Connacht coach Michael Bradley...

Connacht manager Tim Allnutt talks to IrishRugby.ie ahead of Friday's Magners League clash with Leinster at the Sportsground.

IrishRugby.ie: Firstly Tim, how is your prop Brett Sturgess after the injury he sustained against Edinburgh last week?

Tim Allnutt: Brett Sturgess injured his ribs against Edinburgh but it is not as bad as first thought. He's rated at 50/50 for the Leinster game.

IR: Do you expect any changes to the side for Friday's derby game? And how has training gone this week? Could you outline the training schedule you work off?

TA: We have had a settled team for the first four games of the season and I expect that to continue for the match against Leinster. The training this week has been good and the squad have a very good work ethic.

On Sunday, we work on speed and skills with a few patterns. Monday is weights, video analysis in the units and as a squad, and a rugby session. Tuesday is a day off, then we have a rugby session and weights on Wednesday, Thursday is the Captain's practice, Friday is usually a match day and Saturday we have off.

IR: As a former player you've have your own run-ins with Leinster over the years, but what do you make of them as opposition? Any particular memories of playing against them?

TA: Leinster are a great team that can hurt you from anywhere. I was lucky to be involved in a couple of wins against them and obviously the win up in Donnybrook (in September 2002) was awesome.

But a couple of years earlier we beat them at the Sportsground with Pat Duignan scoring in the last minute from inside our own half. We had been having a poor season but really worked hard for the win.

IR: Leinster's returning international players are likely to have leading roles to play on Friday - how can Connacht combat their effectiveness?

TA: They have great depth so whoever they play that will be dangerous, but if we play to our strengths we are capable of beating anyone.

IR: Will you have a set gameplan, or just play to your strengths?

TA: We will have a gameplan but unless we play to our full ability it will not matter. We have to take the game to Leinster.

IR: This game will surely go a long way to determining how good a season it will be for Connacht - would you agree?

TA: It is a huge game, no doubt, and there is a lot riding on it but our goal is to qualify for the Heineken Cup so the next six games are all massive. We will take it one game at a time.

IR: Last week's attendance of 1,065 at the Sportsground must have been a big let down? Is this a concern for you?

TA: We have started Friday night rugby and it is taking off as our attendances are up on last season and we have a fantastic core support, but it would be great to have more people turn up. The atmosphere for the Ospreys game, earlier this month, was the best we have ever had and I am sure that this Friday will be even better.

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21 June 2018
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