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'We've just got to hang tough, stay tight and things will change': Form not far away for Connacht

Kieran Keane can see the tide beginning to turn for his team, and he’s desperate for that momentum to come.

CONNACHT HEAD COACH Kieran Keane says it was his call to forego the chance at a losing bonus point in search of an outright win against Ulster on Friday night.

Speaking with Rob Murphy of Galway Bay FM and the Craggy Rugby Podcast, Keane took responsibility for passing up one point in search of all four.

“That was me, that was all me. I thought we could still win. We only came here to win. We wanted to create a bit of history today by beating them here. That was my call.”

Peter Wilkins, Les Kiss and Kieran Keane Kieran Keane, right, with defence coach Peter Wilkins chatting to Les Kiss pre-match on Friday. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Despite the loss, it was another promising performance away from home for Keane, who was determined to push for a landmark result in a fixture Connacht have not tasted victory in since 1960. Following on from falling just short of champions Scarlets in a nine-try thriller, there are a few reasons to remain cheerful for the Westerners’ season ahead.

“These two sides (Ulster and Scarlets) are a cut above what we met earlier on. We’ve stepped up to the plate, but obviously the opposition have stepped up too.

“I’m disappointed for the boys, because we had a really good week, they trained the house down, we’re in a good space mentally and came here to offer a real big challenge and we didn’t go away, we didn’t capitulate.

We’re disappointed about the points and the fact that our record’s not flash. But in terms of effort and attitude I think things are going along pretty well. We’ve just got to hang tough, stay tight and together and things will change.”

The European window should come as a welcome breath of fresh air for Connacht and a trip to Geneva is certainly a change of scenery. However, the knock-on benefits that can come from forcing a win against Oyonnax or Worcester Warriors are high on Keane’s wish-list.

“We’re searching for some momentum and we need it desperately. Otherwise heads will drop and people will lose confidence and so on, but I think we’ll be okay.”

Listen to more from Keane and the full Craggy Rugby Podcast here.

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Sean Farrell

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