A trademark of Connacht’s performances so far this season has been their resolute defence. Last term they contracted the services of Great Britain rugby league legend Mike Forshaw to shore up the defensive systems of the squad.
Mike Forshaw, the former Wigan Warriors strength & conditioning coach, has made a big impact since his arrival in the west.
A testament to Forshaw’s hard work was the tackle count from last Friday night’s historic Heineken Cup win over Harlequins.
Connacht’s starting pack made a staggering 110 tackles over the course of the game and the team had over 235 defensive involvements over the 80 minutes, denying Harlequins space, territory and clean possession.
The defensive systems clearly took their toll on the visiting side with Connacht turning over possession in every area of the pitch.
Man-of-the-match John Muldoon epitomised Connacht’s tenacity at the breakdown and the 29-year-old Portumna-native displayed a dogged determination and ruthlessness in the contact zone that helped secure the province’s irst win in their maiden Heineken Cup.
Following the pool stages of the Heineken Cup there were 10 teams that conceded more points than Connacht. This list included some of Europe’s most prestigious clubs – names such as London Irish, Northampton Saints, the Ospreys and Castres Olympique.
Indeed, Toulouse were the only team to earn a bonus point against Connacht in this season’s Heineken Cup and had to work extremely hard to achieve that.
Though Connacht have yet to turn performances into results in the RaboDirect PRO12, leaking tries has not been the major issue.
Eric Elwood’s men lie level with league leaders Leinster on number of tries conceded (19) and following last weekend’s heroic performance, the westerners know they can use their impressive defensive capabilities to turn close matches into victories.