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Pre-Game Reading: All You Need To Know About Connacht's Astonishing Rise To The PRO12 Final

Pre-Game Reading: All You Need To Know About Connacht's Astonishing Rise To The PRO12 Final
By Gavin Cooney
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Connacht's rise to this year's PRO12 final is one of the greatest stories in Irish sport, and Pat Lam's role in that success may represent the finest coaching achievement in Irish rugby. It would also be a glorious reward for the great John Muldoon, who will make his 275th Connacht appearance at Murrayfield.

As excitement builds ahead of the showdown with Leinster, get in the mood for kick-off with some of the writing we have done on Connacht in the last week or so.

The Turning Point

When were the ashes scattered to allow the phoenix rise? Conor Neville recalls the day that more than 1,200 Connacht fans marched upon the IRFU offices, a display of the togetherness, determination and sheer bloody-mindedness that currently propels them to vertiginous heights.

READ: The Ironic Turning Point Which Set Connacht Rugby Off To Better Days

A Helping Hand

Conor O'Leary makes the argument that Connacht's rise is down to many factors, although a meritocracy is not one of them.

READ: Connacht Have Leinster To Thank For Their Success

The Bumps Along The Way

Conor O'Leary also profiles the defeats that proved Connacht's true mettle.

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READ: The Heartbreaking Defeats That Shaped Connacht's Current Success

Not Simply The Neutral's Favourite

The neutral fan - if such a thing exists in sport - is bound to be on Connacht's side this evening. Connacht can rely on the support of not just the neutral, however. There will be a few 'Lonnachts' watching today: Leinster folk who will be supporting Connacht. Here are the typical traits of these supporters.

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READ: The 5 Classic Traits Of The 'Lonnachts': The Leinster Folk Who Will Be Supporting Connacht 

How Things Could Have Been

Both Robbie Henshaw and Connacht have been saved that wistful 'what if' by both performing so well in the former's final season out west, but this has not always been in the case. Conor Neville has profiled an XV of players of whom we ask 'What if they stayed with Connacht?'

READ: The Bitter-Tasting 'What If They Stayed With Connacht' XV

The Diehards

As they get ready for their greatest day, Conor Neville outlines the eight classic opinions of a Connacht rugby fan.

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Read: The 8 Classic Opinions Of A Connacht Rugby Fan

See Also: Watch: New Zealand Schoolboys Teams Engage In Truly Spectacular "Haka Battle"

 

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