Connacht coach Andy Friend says he will field a full strength team in his side’s final Champions Cup game of the season against Montpellier despite already being out of the running to qualify for the latter stages of the competition.
With a €20m boost in funding for their Sportsground redevelopment project in the bag, Andy Friend’s Connacht need to secure victory against French champions Toulouse to keep their hopes of reaching the Champions Cup quarter-finals alive.
Stephen Larkham says he knew all about how special the Irish interprovincial games are long before he arrived on these shores, and while the provinces are set to be shorn of their World Cup players for most of the Christmas period, he’s looking forward to the derby games.
It’s amazing how quickly something can turn for a player and when Conor Fitzgerald was let go from the Munster academy 18 months ago the last thing on his mind would have been lighting up the home of Toulouse with an awesome display in the Heineken Champions Cup.
It would be understandable if Connacht’s Sean O’Brien was feeling sorry for himself this week as he underwent surgery for a shoulder injury suffered within minutes of coming on last weekend against Leinster in his first game in almost a year.
The Irish provincial video analysts will be busily plugging into footage of the French Top 14 ahead of this season’s European Champions Cup. All four representatives have been handed French assignments over the next three months - with Connacht getting a double helping.