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Continuity breeds confidence for new Connacht coach

Guinness PRO12 Editor

10 Mar 2010

New Connacht boss Eric Elwood believes an exciting future lies ahead for the Galway-based province.

Former Ireland outside-half Elwood will take over from Michael Bradley at the end of the current season and the 41-year-old is confident that he will be in charge of an increasingly competitive squad.

“The most positive thing for me is that, in the past, we at Connacht would have a turnover of 10, 12 or even more players a year, but all the players have now resigned,” said Elwood.

“We know the players and they know me and the way I deal with things so that’s a positive going forward. The continuity is a very positive thing.”

Connacht currently sit at the foot of the Magners League table but the province have proved that they can match the very best on their day.

Qualification for the knockout stages of the Amlin Challenge Cup as top seeds has shown Connacht can compete with French and English opposition, while victories over Cardiff Blues and the Scarlets, as well as their recent draw with high-flying Glasgow Warriors, suggest that it is consistency rather than quality that has hampered domestic progress.

That view is shared by Elwood himself, with the ex-Connacht star claiming that putting back-to-back wins together is already high on the agenda for next season.

“We’ll be looking for consistency in our performances. That’s the short-term goal,” added Elwood, who admits that confidence has often been lacking since before his time as part of the coaching staff in Galway.

“If we get that, then we’ll build confidence and believe in our ability, particularly when we go away from home.

“When I was playing for Connacht, and I don’t mind saying it, we maybe under-rated ourselves, so I just want to raise the bar with the co-operation of the people around me.

“It’s important that we show ambition and take things forward.”