Craig Ronaldson: Connacht must prove we should be at the top table

Fresh from his game-winning heroics against Toulouse, Connacht centre Craig Ronaldson is targeting a repeat result against Zebre this weekend. 

Craig Ronaldson: Connacht must prove we should be at the top table

Bundee Aki may have crossed for the equalising try, but it was Ronaldson’s stunning conversion from the touchline – his first kick of the game – that secured a memorable win for the western province against the European giants.

With just two games under his belt since a thigh injury sidelined him for the opening weeks of the season, Ronaldson has reignited his partnership with Aki in the centre, and the former Lansdowne man is relishing a run of games.

But Connacht are wary of trips to Parma, especially as an electrical storm saved them from a shock defeat to Zebre last month - Pat Lam’s side trailed 22-10 when their PRO12 game was abandoned due to the worsening weather.

“We want to get a big start, we don’t want to give them a sniff this weekend,” said Ronaldson. “They are a good team on their home patch. They might have rested a few players last week (in an 82-14 defeat away to Wasps) as they might have been having an eye on us this weekend. We have to be mentally and physically prepared for what’s going to be a tough game. We have to back up the week we just had.”

Connacht are brimming with confidence after high profile wins over Ulster and Toulouse in the space of seven days. But Ronaldson insisted that celebrations were muted. “In years gone past, if we would get a big interpro win there would be a lot of celebrations, a lot of happiness and the changing room would be buzzing.

“On the weekend we were obviously very happy with the outcome, but we were saying we have got a big game next week we have got to back this up. That’s how we did it at the end of last season. We want to be able to follow big performances with big performances and prove that we should be at the top table of European Rugby.”

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