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Dublin: 10 °C Friday 26 April, 2019
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RDS still a hoodoo to be broken for Pro12 champions Connacht

Leinster have felt the full force of Connacht in Galway and Edinburgh, but hold a proud record on home turf.

CONNACHT LOCK ULTAN Dillane is confident they can get rid of another hoodoo when they take on Leinster at the RDS tomorrow.

Dillane, one of just three from the Pro12 champions to be included in Joe Schmidt’s squad for the autumn internationals, reckons they are in with a good shout of a first ever win at the Dublin venue.

Dillane believes that back-to-back wins over Leinster last season, including the unforgettable 20-10 win in the Pro12 final at Murrayfield, shows they have the measure of Leo Cullen’s men.

Ultan Dillane with Dave Kearney and Richard Strauss Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

But the 22-year old says he is not under-estimating the task facing them tomorrow.

“I am looking forward to the challenge. We have obviously got huge respect for Leinster – they are the team that we played in the final last year,” said Dillane, who has played 34 for Connacht since making the breakthrough two years ago.

“We’ve certainly not beaten them in the RDS and it’s a huge challenge ahead for us, but all the more exciting with the group of lads we have.

“It’s all about how we learn from the little errors against them up there last time. But it’s just about getting the mindset right and training to win from the start of the week, as we always say, definitely goes a long way towards creating history for us,” said the five times capped second row.

Connacht have won their last four games in a row since they had their slow start to the season and they are top of their pool in the Champions Cup.

Garry Ringrose and Ultan Dillane Ultan Dillane tackling Garry Ringrose in an 'A' inter-pro in January 2015. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

However, the western province are still well off the pace in the Pro12 – they are eighth despite impressive back to back victories over Edinburgh and Ulster.

But with players like Bundee Aki and Dillane signing contract  extensions this week, hopes are high that Connacht can build on last season’s success.

Dillane, who can also play at blindside flanker, has been involved in every game this season as he hopes to add more strings to his bow, calling line-outs.

“Calling line-outs is a learning experience, and something I always want to improve on. Always learning is how I like to go about it, so I am enjoying it.

“Leinster have a huge set-piece, they have quality players with a stack of internationals.

“We’ve definitely got to get our mindset right for this weekend and certainly bring the physicality,” he said.

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Daragh Small

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