Heineken Cup rugby is back in Galway on Friday night as Italian side Zebre descend on the Sportsground for the final round of the pool stages in this year’s European competition.
The atmosphere around the province this week has been building towards this fixture as Connacht work to end this season’s European campaign on a high with three wins from six.
The westerners’ second year in European has been a momentous one. With wins over both Zebre away and Biarritz at home, Eric Elwood’s men have proven that they are a competitive side in the top European competition.
This is Zebre’s debut season in both the RaboDirect PRO12 and Europe. And the Italian newcomers have demonstrated that they are a promising outfit, highlighted by extremely close games against more experienced sides such as Glasgow Warriors, the Scarlets and Ulster.
Italian international Mauro Bergamasco has been named as captain and will lead his team-mates out this Friday night under floodlights, as both sides endeavour to finish off their pool run in style.
Throughout the season, the Connacht fans have been phenomenal. Last week’s try scorer against Harlequins, Johnny O’Connor, said: “Both the players and management were blown away by the fans at the Stoop last weekend.
“We could hear ‘the Fields of Athenry’ thundering from the North Stand and it really drove us on in what was a difficult game.
“We’re all really looking forward to giving our fans something to shout about this Friday night against Zebre.
“We want to finish our second Heineken Cup year on a high and a win this weekend would be a huge boost to the players, club and supporters.”
With the Clan Terrace sold out, it promises to be an electrifying atmosphere at the Sportsground so Connacht fans should make sure they do not miss out on the action.
Tickets start at €;30 for adults and €;10 for juniors and can be purchased from the Connacht Branch offices or online here.