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Dublin: 4°C Thursday 13 May 2021

Friend aiming for Pro14 knockouts as Connacht end losing streak

The western province defeated Cardiff 29-0 on Saturday, their first shut-out since 2001.

Kyle Godwin breaks away for Connacht's fourth try.
Kyle Godwin breaks away for Connacht's fourth try.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CONNACHT BOSS ANDY Friend believes their 29-0 win over Cardiff Blues at the weekend has set them up for a big finish to the season.

It’s the first time since 2001 that they have held a team scoreless in the league, having hammered Caerphilly 62-0 back then, but this was a much more important victory.

“First and foremost, it snaps off a five-game losing streak which no one ever wants to go through,” said Friend.

“But when you are in it you have got to try and stop it somehow. To stop it in that sort of fashion is fantastic. We want to reach the knockout stages for this competition, more important we want a home quarter-final. We are in a pool that is very, very tight.

To not give Cardiff a point, and for us to get the bonus point, that will have an impact at the end of the season. So that was very pleasing. We have got two other inter-conference games in this block, Edinburgh and the Kings.

“We play Edinburgh twice over the course of the next few months. They are ahead of us. Scarlets are ahead of us, we play them once, here in the Sportsground. And Munster we have got to play them again. It is all in our control but we have got to make sure we keep delivering performances like that, if not better.”

The first of those Edinburgh encounters comes up next Friday night in Murrayfield and Connacht will head there with a pep in their step after tries from man of the match Dave Heffernan, centres Peter Robb and Kyle Godwin and winger John Porch rounded off a superb win in a game controlled by Jack Carty at out-half.

“I was pleased with the pressure we placed upon them when we didn’t have the football,” added Friend.

“Two or three tries that came off their turnovers. It was our pressure that got us the football and we were able to react to that,” added the Australian.

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John Fallon

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