Connacht’s Eoghan Masterson believes the province can go all the way to Challenge Cup glory if they can qualify after tomorrow’s final pool fixture against Enisei-STM at the Sportsground.
After one of the toughest Connacht team performance reviews this week following their poor performance against Brive, Masterson, who came off the bench for 20 minutes in France, says it is now up to the players to respond with a performance against the visiting Russians to give themselves the best chance to qualify.
“It was one of the toughest reviews. Every review is honest — we go through the good things and the bad things — but there were not many good things this week.
“It was tough, but people have to take it on the chin,” he says.
“It was a long journey home on the back of a disappointing result, but we signed it off and are now fully focused on Enisei, which is obviously a good opportunity to get into the quarter-finals.”
Although the 22-year-old Emerging Ireland player did not travel to Siberia for their first-round victory, he says Connacht are preparing for a tough afternoon at the Sportsground.
“They put in a good performance against Newcastle (winning 24-7), and that is great result for them — against Brive as well.
“They have a really strong lineout, big strong maul, and some really physical ball carriers as well, so we know we are going to be up against it.”
Although Connacht have failed to achieve their primary goal of hosting a quarter-final, Pat Lam’s squad can still qualify as pool winners, but they must achieve a bonus point win and hope Brive fail to get a similar result in Newcastle.
“It’s massively important to qualify, and for the fans as well. Obviously there is a big prize at the end of the Challenge Cup this season with a place in the Champions Cup.
“There are a lot of good sides this year and we want to test ourselves against them.”
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