Connacht captain John Muldoon says the maturity his side has shown in recent games needs to be repeated when they return to Parma at the weekend to take on Zebre in the Champions Cup.
Connacht began their Champions Cup campaign with a fantastic 23-21 victory over four-time winners Toulouse at the weekend.
The hosts trailed 21-11 at half-time but fought back with late tries from Tiernan O’Halloran and Bundee Aki to seal a second win over the most prolific winners of the competition.
But the most pleasing aspect for Muldoon is the fact his side are learning to cope in the most difficult of situations.
Connacht were stuck inside their own 22 in the closing minutes but went through the phases and never panicked as they ran down the clock to secure victory.
“Once we got the ball back we could control the game. When the opposition has the ball you are in the lap of what they can do and in the lap of God and the referee,” said Muldoon.
“So once you are in control of the game it’s important that you close it out.
“We had one or two opportunities the previous week against Ulster that we coughed up and we tried to make sure that we learned from those mistakes.
“The best thing about this team is that we do learn from mistakes and hopefully from now on we will be able to give ourselves a little bit more breathing space than two points.”
Connacht are second in Champions Cup Pool 2 after Wasps scored 12 tries in a 82-14 victory over a second-string Zebre side in the opening round at the Ricoh Arena.
Connacht travel to take on the Italians in Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi on Sunday but Muldoon said they will be a different proposition at home.
They led Connacht 22-10 at half-time in round three of the Pro12 on September 17 before the game was abandoned due to a storm in Parma.
But Muldoon is delighted to have kicked off the campaign with a victory on their return to Champions Cup rugby after a three-year absence.
“We will have to dust ourselves down because we know Zebre isn’t going to be an easy game.
“We were over there a few weeks ago and we were probably lucky to get away from it. We will be leaving nothing to chance.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved