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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 25 February 2021
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'It is absolutely enormous to prove Leinster can be beaten'

Andy Friend was thrilled with his Connacht team tonight after they secured a sensational win over Leinster in Dublin.

Jack Carty celebrates Connacht's win.
Jack Carty celebrates Connacht's win.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

ANDY FRIEND EXPRESSED his pride in his young Connacht team after they defeated Leinster tonight to put themselves right in the mix for a place in the Pro14 championship final.

Under the new rules, the leading side from Conference A will play the winners of Conference B in this season’s decider.

As things stand, Ulster top Conference A by 10 points from Leinster while Munster are first, Connacht second in Conference B. If Connacht beat Munster next week and eat into the eight-point gap separating these sides then a season that had failed to catch the public’s imagination could suddenly catch fire.

That’s for another day. For now, Friend was thrilled to see his side become the first Connacht team to win away to Leinster since 2002.

He said: “It is very pleasing. We were up here a couple of years ago, had a 17-point lead and that got swallowed up. It is very, very hard to win here but I thought our blokes were hungry from the start.

“They threw everything at it and to get the win was great.

“To come up here and believe you can win takes a lot of positive mindset. I love the fact they had that belief, love the fact that from the first whistle they threw everything into it.

“We said be decisive, trust your systems and trust the fact we deserve to be out here on that footie field and they did that.

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“We had a lot of young blokes out there and they delivered.”

If nothing else, this also shows Leinster are not unbeatable. This was their first home defeat in the Pro14 since April 2019.

Friend said: “It’s enormous. It’s enormous for Connacht and for everyone else to prove that they (Leinster) can be beaten.

“For us it is a big win and we said at the front end of the game, that it was not just important to win from a Conference perspective but also to stop our sequence (of three successive defeats leading into tonight’s game).

“Munster will be hurting after their loss to Ulster tonight. We will dust ourselves down and see if we can repeat this result in the Sportsground.”

About the author:

Garry Doyle

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