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Thursday 14 November 2019

Friend: we need to keep winning

 

Kieran Marmion. Photo: Sportsfile
Kieran Marmion. Photo: Sportsfile

Connacht can strike a serious blow for their play-off intentions at home to PRO14 League surprise packets Benetton Treviso this evening.

It looks like it is between Cardiff Blues and the Western Province for that precious third place in Conference B.

At the moment, that would put them on a May bank holiday collision course with Benetton in the quarter-final.

Of course, the landscape can alter drastically in the last four rounds, in both conferences.

Coach Andy Friend has taken the chance to return three Ireland internationals with second row Ultan Dillane starting and first-choice half-backs Jack Carty and Kieran Marmion prepared for action off the bench.

"We are in a similar situation, they are sitting second in their conference and we are third in ours so both teams will be looking for a win," said Friend.

"We said at the start of the year we wanted to be there at the business end and we're there or thereabouts.

"We need to keep winning to make sure we control our destiny," he stated.

"If we keep winning, we stay in control. If we don't, then we have to start looking at points and seeing where we can scrounge some.

"At this stage, it's just about the win".

Connacht: T O'Halloran; D Leader, T Farrell, P Robb, M Healy; K Godwin, C Blade; D Buckley, S Delahunt, F Bealham, U Dillane, J Cannon, E McKeon, C Fainga'a, J Butler (capt). Replacements: T McCartney, P McCabe, C Carey, G Thornbury, E Masterson; K Marmion, J Carty, S Fitzgerald.

Benetton: L Sperandio; R Tavuyara, T Benvenuti, A Sgarbi (capt), M Ioane; I McKinley, D Duvenage; N Quaglio, H Faiva, M Riccioni, I Herbst, A Zanni, M Lazzaroni, G Pettinelli, T Halafihi. Replacements: T Baravalle, D Appiah, T Pasquali, M Barbini, R Barbieri; G Bronzini, A Rizzi, T Iannone.

Verdict: Connacht.

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