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Bradley pinpoints Connacht’s strengths

Guinness PRO12 Editor

16 Sep 2011

Edinburgh Rugby head coach Michael Bradley knows Connacht inside out after a seven-year spell in charge and is under no illusions how hard it is going to be for the Gunners to break their RaboDirect Pro12 duck.

After two rounds of matches, the teams find themselves at opposite ends of the table with Connacht having won two from two while Edinburgh only have a losing bonus point to show for their efforts against Ospreys and Cardiff.

And while Bradley can pinpoint his former charges’ exact strengths, he knows stopping them is another matter.

He said: “Obviously I know them well and I've been getting plenty of communication from them on the fact that they are looking down at us from the top of the table. 

“I think in particular they have a very solid back five in their pack. Frank Murphy is a quality player as well. You've Gavin Duffy at 15 too, so they have a good balance to their side. 

“I think they are aware of their strengths and they will play to them and give 100% on the day, so they will be very difficult. 

“Connacht are always difficult when they have confidence and this particular group, rightly so, at this point in the season, should be very very confident coming here.”

Bradley has made four changes from the side which lost to Ospreys last week and has handed a first start to scrum-half Chris Leck with versatile captain Greig Laidlaw moving to fly-half.

Winger Lee Jones replaces the injured Simon Webster, while prop Jack Gilding and lock Steven Turnbull also start. 

And after their chastening opening-day experience against the Blues, Bradley is adamant it is vital his side are on top of their game at the breakdown if they are to get back to winning ways at Murrayfield.

“For us, this game is very very important,” he said. “We've played two matches in the RaboDirect Pro 12 and we've lost both of them. 

“Our first match here in front of our home supporters was very disappointing for us, so it is very important that we get a win on the board, no matter how we do it.

“I think we have to be accurate at the breakdown. We were more competitive at the breakdown for the full 80 minutes against Ospreys than we were against Cardiff.

“We have to bring that forward to the game against Connacht, because they'll punish you if you don't.”