Rugby fans will get an understanding of the level of physical and emotional commitment required to coach and compete at the highest levels of the sport when a new documentary, ‘The West’s Awake’, airs on TG4 at 9.30pm tomorrow (Wednesday).
The much-anticipated documentary is an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Connacht’s inaugural Heineken Cup season last year.
With unprecedented access granted by Connacht head coach Eric Elwood, the documentary follows the management, squad and supporters on their eventful season and provides a compelling unvarnished look at life at the Sportsground.
‘The West’s Awake’ charts Connacht’s European odyssey from the modest Sportsground in Galway to the mighty Stade Ernest Wallon in Toulouse via the Stoop of London and Kingsholm in Gloucester.
It lays bare the agony and ecstasy of Elwood and the Connacht squad as they strive to compete against the cream of European rugby in the face of overwhelming odds.
The cameras are in the dressing room to capture the drama and emotion of a rollercoaster year for the province and reveal rarely glimpsed insights into the level of commitment and physical and emotional investment required to compete at the highest levels.
Commenting on the documentary, director Kieran Hartigan said: “‘The West’s Awake’ is as much a human-interest story as it is a sporting one. It reveals the human stories behind the players, the supporters and most relevantly in light of recent developments, the coach.
“It shows the level of physical and emotional commitment that these modern day gladiators need to invest to compete at the highest levels of their sport.
“It also shows how one’s true character emerges in the face of adversity as it did for these guys in the midst of a very challenging season last year.
“Finally I think it speaks to a sense of belonging, to being ‘of this place’, Connacht. This is nowhere more evident that in the story of Eric Elwood.
“His pride in where he comes from, his passion for his team and his ambition for Connacht Rugby shine through our story.
“Eric and the management team could well have decided at the lowest points of the season last year to pull the plug on this project but they had the courage to let us continue and we’ve ended up with a stronger, more authentic story as a result.”
Click here to view a teaser for the documentary – warning: contains strong language.
‘The West’s Awake – Rugbaí Chonnacht’, was directed by Kieran Hartigan (The Brave & the Faithful, 2006) and co-produced by Hartigan and Aideen Kane (Back to School Primary Pressures) for Galway-based Iris Productions.
Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, TG4 and Fáilte Ireland, it will broadcast on TG4 on Wednesday, October 10 at 9.30pm and again on Saturday, October 13 at 11.25pm.