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Dublin: 16 °C Friday 19 April, 2019
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Connacht targeting revenge after RDS heartbreak - Andrew Browne

The Galwegian flanker feels his team is capable of producing a similar performance to last season’s 34-6 home win over Leinster.

Andrew Browne is in line for his 100th Connacht cap this weekend.
Andrew Browne is in line for his 100th Connacht cap this weekend.
Image: INPHO/James Crombie

WHILE CONNACHT WERE creating Heineken Cup history against Toulouse at Stade Ernest Wallon, Andrew Browne was helping the ‘A’ team to a British & Irish Cup win over Bedford.

The Galwegian may have missed out on the exhilaration of being there in person but insists the province are still riding high from December’s triumph. Browne has forced himself back into the senior set-up and wants to be involved in the next giant-killing adventure. Conveniently enough, Leinster are coming to town this Saturday.

“Toulouse was the biggest ever Heineken Cup shock or definitely right up with the biggest,” Browne told TheScore.ie. “It was a remarkable win and, even though the lads were confident going over [to France] and doing a job, the win caught me by surprise.

“The main thing for us was that it was a badly-needed win. We had come close to decent wins earlier in the season before falling short.”

Browne was involved in the 13-16 loss to Leinster at the RDS in October, a game he call’s the province’s biggest disappointment of the season. “That was hard to take,” he conceded. “I came off the bench [on 63 minutes] and tore my hamstring after 10 minutes.” The flanker was replaced by scrum-half Paul O’Donohoe, who was forced to scrum down with winger Tiernan O’Halloran after Connacht were reduced to 13 men in the closing stages. The makeshift pack held out for two scrums but a penalty try was awarded as it crumpled at the third time of asking.

imageLeinster’s Jamie Heaslip roars in delight as his team is awarded a late try against Connacht. INPHO/Morgan Treacy

“Pat [Lam] showed us video clip of the game on the Monday after the game. It highlighted Brett [Wilkinson], Sean [Henry] and Rodney Ah You and they made some amount of tackles in that game. That effort from your front row lads was something else,” said Browne.

“Still, we let it slip at the end and that result will be in the back of our minds. It was hard to swallow so we’ll be targeting this game for a bit of revenge.”

Connacht will guilty, during that Leinster loss, of performing scrummaging or breakdown heroics only to gift Matt O’Connor’s team possession through knock-ons or kicks that did not find touch. Browne said, “When you are constantly defending, especially against Leinster, they’ll force errors. You can’t rely on your defence all of the time. We have to bring it to Leinster, as well, and not just sit back.”

Connacht showed no signs of sitting back during Leinster’s visit to the Sportsground last season. The westerners ran in five tries in a 34-6 humiliation for their interprovincial rivals, scoring four of them in an astounding first half performance. “That was brilliant,” Browne reflected. “It was Dan Parks first start and we had Eoin Griffin and Dave McSharry causing mayhem in midfield.

“Weather permitting, please God, we’ll get another clear night and we play like that again.”

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Patrick McCarry

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