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Connacht not letting European glamour distract them

Guinness PRO12 Editor

27 Oct 2011

Connacht forwards coach Dan McFarland is adamant the buzz surrounding the club’s maiden Heineken Cup matches won’t distract them from the job in hand against the Blues on Saturday.

Eric Elwood’s side have been one of the surprise packages in the early rounds of the RaboDirect PRO12 and will make their Heineken bow against Harlequins on November 11, courtesy of provincial rivals Leinster lifting the trophy last season. 

And once the dust has settled at the Stoop Connacht are rewarded with welcoming French giants Toulouse to the Sportsground a week later.

But despite that mouthwatering prospect, McFarland believes Connacht won’t take their eye off the ball.

“We have got 13 games in a row, like all the teams in the RaboDirect, and what we keep saying is that they are all very important. We will approach every game with that focus,” he said.

“There will be a massive buzz around the province when Toulouse come to town — but Cardiff at home this weekend is a huge fixture, as is Ulster away the following weekend, and that is the way we have to approach every game.

“Is there a tingle thinking about Toulouse? Yeah, of course there is.

“People will write us off saying we have a 'happy to be here' vibe in the Heineken Cup – you can get rid of that straight away. We want to demonstrate the kind of club we are and what we have to offer.

“We fully understand that it is an extremely difficult prospect, we would be silly not to recognise that, but we relish that.

“If anything is worth doing, it's got to be hard, it can't be easy. Stuff that's easy isn't worth anything to anybody.

“We'll stand in front of that challenge and rise up to it. We want to perform, we want to show people what we can do and if that means winning games, terrific, that's what we'll be going for.”