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Connacht Switch Focus To Europe

Connacht Switch Focus To Europe

Connacht coach Michael Bradley wants his team to bounce back from their Magners League loss to Scarlets and mount a challenge to Pool 1 Leaders London Irish this weekend.

Connacht travel to the Madejski Stadium in Reading to play Guinness Premiership leaders London Irish this Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

And then Connacht will host French side Dax in their concluding European Challenge Cup pool game at the Sportsground on Friday week (January 23) at 6.30pm.

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Michael Bradley said they were very disappointed with the 17-14 loss to the Scarlets in the Magners League, having looked for so long that they would win after playing some wonderful rugby during the first hour.

“At one stage it looked like we would win comfortably, then it looked like we would just win, then draw and in the end were left with just a bonus point. It was very disappointing,” he said.

“We should have closed out the game long before they came back.

“We need to learn how to finish teams off, that’s two weeks in-a-row we have let a side come back and beat us,” said Bradley.

The scale of the challenge facing Connacht is evident when you look across the pools. Two former Heineken Cup winners – Northampton Saints and Brive – and two of last season’s Heineken Cup semi-finalists, London Irish and Saracens, all top their European Challenge Cup Pools with two rounds of matches to go.

They are joined by last season’s tournament finalists Worcester Warriors in the race for quarter-final qualification with the five pool winners and three best runners-up going through to the knock-out stages.

Bradley has urged his men to bounce back and nail a place in the last-eight of the European Challenge Cup when they play London Irish and Dax over the next two weekends.

“We need a win and probably a bonus point from those two games and that is what we have to concentrate now.

“We will be taking the two games as a pair. We know what we need from them and that is now the focus of our attention,” he added.

European Challenge Cup – Pool Standings