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Dublin: 6°C Saturday 27 February 2021

Friend backs flying winger Wootton to get Ireland's call

The winger scored a superb brace against Cardiff tonight in Connacht’s bonus-point win.

Wootton touches down for his second try.
Wootton touches down for his second try.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

ANDY FRIEND, THE Connacht coach, has backed Alex Wootton to get pushed into the Ireland squad after his in-form winger took his scoring tally to 10 tries from 13 games this season.

Now the top tryscorer in the Pro14, Wootton’s contributions changed the course of tonight’s game, as Connacht went from 10-6 down to 20-10 ahead in the course of five unforgettable minutes just before half-time.

When he was specifically asked if Wootton should get a look in with Ireland, Friend replied: “Yes (he should).

“Everyone is going to have an opinion on that and I feel a few blokes of ours should get a look in. I know Alex has caught the attention of the national selectors previously and that performance tonight won’t hurt his chances.

“All we can do is play our best rugby as a team and all these blokes can do is play their best rugby as individuals.

“I have to say that Alex has been brilliant for us since he came in. He has a way of finding that tryline. I just love his speed, his reading of the game and the confidence he has out there.”

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For Wootton, loaned to Connacht for the season from Munster, tonight’s win was vital in the sense that it keeps alive Connacht’s slim hopes of making it into this season’s Pro14 final. It also, pretty much, leaves them assured of Champions Cup rugby next season.

“We put a lot of focus on breaking them down,” Wootton said afterwards. “The conditions were really difficult tonight. We had a tricky start but we always had that belief that we could come back. It was nice to get back to winning ways.”

Friend added: “We said coming into this run of five games that all we can do is win. We are not getting ahead of ourselves, Treviso next Friday can be a tricky side, so we can’t think about Munster until that game is out of the way.”

About the author:

Garry Doyle

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