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Friend satisfied with narrow win over Sharks as destiny in Connacht's hands

A win in Bordeaux next weekend will guarantee a quarter-final spot in the Challenge Cup.

Andy Friend: Connacht made to battle in 'frustrating' game.
Andy Friend: Connacht made to battle in 'frustrating' game.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

CONNACHT COACH Andy Friend said that he’s pleased that they are heading into their final pool game in control of their own destiny.

Victory in Bordeaux next Saturday will guarantee a quarter-final spot in the Challenge Cup.

An unlikely series of results could see them secure a home quarter-final but Friend is just pleased to have secured a first ever win over Sale Sharks and not leave them depending on results elsewhere to net a place in the last eight.

“That’s pleasing. We will assess how we all pull up and see what sort of squad we take out there. It was all the way to the wire but we got there,” he said.

His men led 17-0 after 23 minutes thanks to tries from Kyle Godwin and James Mitchell but Chris Ashton crossed before the break.

That left it 17-7 when Sale took wind advantage after the restart and a try from Springbok scrum-half Faf de Klerk got them back in contention before two penalties from him edged Sale in front for the first time with 14 minutes remaining.

But Connacht regained the lead when David Horwitz converted a penalty seven minutes from time and with Sale guilty of crossing after going to the corner with a penalty in the final play, Friend’s men survived.

“We just said in there, it was probably one of the more frustrating games to watch and play.

“But at the end of the day but we have beaten Sale and they are a good side, they have come into really good form.

“That will go down as a good win for us,” added Friend, who has rotated his squad in this competition. 


Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

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John Fallon

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