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Rigney reaches highest for a lineout

It's hardly been an ideal return to Connacht colours for back row Colm Rigney. After five successive defeats, the Laois man has been benched for tomorrow's Celtic League visit to the Ospreys.

Still, the talented number 8, who re-signed for the westerners from Leeds Tykes in the summer, is determined to bounce straight back into the starting XV and haul Connacht up the league table.

With the start of the European Challenge Cup looming large on the horizon - Michael Bradley's side take on Catania at home on Saturday week - Rigney, whether being rested for next weekend or not, is determined to make sure Connacht coach Bradley has no option but to pick him for the important ties ahead.

Rigney told the province's website: "There is definitely a stronger squad here (at Connacht) than in previous years. Obviously, I'm hugely disappoinyed not to be playing but I do have a lot of confidence in my own ability and I feel that if I can get back to full fitness I can put Brads in a position where he has no choice but to pick me somewhere in the backline!

"There's pressure to perform every match," added Rigney, who left Connacht for Leeds in 2003.

"I feel that if I don't perform then I should be dropped. But I want to make the team and earn my position just like everyone else.

"The back row is always competitive I think. Last year at Leeds there were six back rows, five of which were internationals. I was the only one not to be capped by my country. There was one English international, one South African, one Scot and two Welsh, yet having said that I still made the position my own. I didn't start the first two matches but after that I got my chance and wasn't dropped for the season."

A similar run from Rigney could pay dividends for Connacht, who really need a confidence boosting performance against last season's league champions tomorrow.

It will be a tough prospect to take anything away from Swansea, especially with hooker John Fogarty, flanker Matt Lacey, centre James Downey, scrum half Chris Keane, as well as Rigney, all being held in reserve for Catania.

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19 June 2018
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