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Elwood Predicts ‘Big Physical Battle’

Elwood Predicts ‘Big Physical Battle’

Connacht coach Eric Elwood is looking forward to a ‘big physical battle’ when Ulster visit the Sportsground for Saturday’s eagerly-awaited Magners League derby.

With few injuries from last weekend’s famous win over the Glasgow Warriors, Eric Elwood is confident he will have the pick of his squad for Saturday’s clash with Ulster, although the injured John Muldoon, Ezra Taylor and Johnny O’Connor remain sidelined.

The Connacht boss said: “We’ve taken steps in the right direction and the squad had set themselves challenges for the last two away matches (against the Scarlets and Glasgow).

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“Fair play to the lads, they showed great character from the disappointing defeat to the Scarlets to front up like they did in a real physical battle with a very strong Glasgow side at home.”

Experienced full-back Gavin Duffy said that Connacht want to recreate a similar atmosphere this weekend to that of last season when Munster, Leinster, Bourgoin and Toulon all visited the Sportsground.

He added that (new defence coach) Mike Forshaw has done some great work with the squad in defence, and ‘sharpened the whole team up so the rate and quality of the tackles has improved.’

Hooker Sean Cronin, who scored a cracking try in the league opener against the Dragons, has been pleased with the progress of the Connacht scrum and is keen to test the set piece against Ulster’s powerful pack.

“We’ve managed to squeeze a few penalties there in the last couple of weeks, we’re working better as an eight this season,” admitted Cronin.

“(Our forwards coach) Dan (McFarland) has put a huge amount of work in over the last number of years and we’re starting to reap the fruits of that now.

“I think Ulster will be one the best front rows we’ll have come against this season, whoever they put out they’ll be tough across the line.

“We will just have to do what we’ve been doing in the last couple of games and see where we go from there.”