herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Hagan wary of threat from Warriors as direct rival White moves to Connacht

TIGHT-HEAD Jamie Hagan is beginning to find his feet at Leinster at the same time as Connacht have announced that one of his direct competitors, Nathan White, will move West at the end of the season on a three-year contract.

Hagan's scrummaging is a source of strength. It is his footballing skills that have to be honed for him to make the next step in his career. His next opportunity should come away to Glasgow Warriors at Firhill on Saturday.

"We played them earlier in the season in the Heineken Cup," said Hagan.

"It is not a nice place to go. They will want to win, especially after the draw in Galway at the weekend.

"They are going to be gunning for this match. It is a must-win for them. Hopefully, we can go over there, stick to our plan and do a job on them."

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt can afford to take a loss or two from here to the end of the Rabodirect PRO12 season, though he would never countenance it.



Luxury

The Warriors have no such luxury. They must live up to their name if they are to hold on to their play-off place with Cardiff Blues, Ulster and Scarlets all mounting a drive for the top four.

Coach Sean Lineen has got to grips with his players from their first two defeats by Munster and Treviso at Firhill.

Since then they have beaten the Dragons, the Ospreys, Ulster, Edinburgh and the Scarlets to copper-fasten their ranking in the top third of the table.

Meanwhile, White has played for Leinster 14 times this season and has made a strong impression. This is something of a coup for Connacht. He moves West for game time and the security of a three-year contract.

"Nathan is an exceptional scrummager and to have a player with his explosive power around the pitch opens up a huge number of opportunities for us," said Connacht forwards coach Dan McFarland.

"Nathan's a proven leader both on and off the pitch and I am looking forward to working with him here at Connacht."

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