The Welsh Are Worried About Connacht

The Welsh Are Worried About Connacht
By Conor Neville
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You can have a great European tournament where you don't have to go to 'Conn-awwt' with respect and you don't have to go to Zebre with respect. It's got to be an elite European competition.

So said the masterly provocateur Stephen Jones on Scrum V (a kind of Welsh version of 'Against the Head') at the end of 2013.

When the Champions Cup came along, the business of having to go to Galway for a European game, where the wind was ferocious and the sky always seemed to be spitting with rain, was supposed to be gone forever.

Well, now, Connacht, with seven wins and four losses and a draw from 12 games, are sitting fifth in the Guinness Pro 12 table and lie ahead of every Welsh team bar Ospreys (and Leinster). They just dispatched Munster in the Sportsground with a rollicking second half performance, and only a week ago almost won at Ravenhill for the first time since the month Kennedy was shot (true story).


Could it be that Connacht will not be the biggest casualties of the introduction of the Champions Cup, but rather the Welsh regions?

Jones, who, seconds after Connacht's historic win over Toulouse last year, tweeted 'Two rubbish teams and the French don't care about Hein any more. Any thoughts?', is unlikely to admit to any sleepless nights over Connacht's recent run.


However other, less churlish Welsh journalists are admitting concerns. Simon Thomas of the Western Mail, has written that's 'Connacht's stirring 24-16 win over Munster has created the very real possibility that Wales will have only one representative in next year's European Champions Cup.'

Scarlets, who lie seventh in the table and a fair distance behind Connacht, play table toppers Ospreys tonight. Welsh club rugby needs the in-form Ospreys to lose. Connacht, and indeed a wobbly Leinster outfit, will wish otherwise.


“Ireland’s Got No Idea About Professional Rugby” – Stephen Jones

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