Bernard Jackman eyes prize but will stick with attacking style

Grenoble coach Bernard Jackman has vowed his team will continue to play attacking rugby as they enter the knock-out stages of the Challenge Cup against Connacht on Saturday night.

“There is a huge amount of interest in the Challenge Cup quarter-final and I know the Connacht fans will be travelling in big numbers. The atmosphere at Stade des Alpes is going to be magnificent,” Jackman told epcrugby.com.

“It is going to be a massive occasion for the town and the club and, having reached the last eight, the target now has to be to go all the way to the final in Lyon.

“It is only an hour up the road and it would be a great moment for the club to reach a European final. To do that it is important that we don’t lose our ambition as a team and continue to look to express ourselves.

“It is easy to coach conservative rugby, but that’s not what we are looking for at Grenoble. But if you preach attacking rugby you need good structure in your side and to give the team a solid platform off which to work off.

“We are getting there and there is huge excitement throughout the club about what we might be able to achieve in Europe.”

Ironically the last time these sides met in the quarter-final stages of the competition Jackman and his team manager Andrew Farley were in the Connacht ranks.

The Irish province won 26-21 in France and then followed that up with a 19-3 home win in the second leg to reach the semi-finals for the second successive season.

Now the two men will be plotting the downfall of Pat Lam’s side as they seek to go further than ever before in Europe.

This season, of course, there will be only one game and even though Connacht have been at the top of the Guinness Pro12 ever since September — their defeat at Ulster last weekend saw them slip to second — their trip to Stade des Alpes is likely to be one of the toughest away games of the season.

The prize for the winners is an away trip to face either Harlequins or London Irish, with the ultimate goal being to win the title for the first time and clinch a ticket into the Champions Cup next season.

Connacht may already be two-thirds of the way there thanks to their form in the Pro12, but Grenoble are currently seven points short of a top six finish in the Top 14.

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