DFP Header Area

Elwood insists Toulouse defeat was valuable experience

Guinness PRO12 Editor

23 Nov 2011

Connacht coach Eric Elwood insists scoring a try against French heavyweights Toulouse was a mini-victory in itself which left him proud of his charges’ determined efforts.

The RaboDirect PRO12’s ninth-placed side made their home Heineken Cup bow and proved to be stubborn opponents for the four-time champions.

The reigning Top 14 champions failed to leave the Sportsground with a bonus point in the 36-10 victory, and Connacht were awarded a penalty try to the delight of the record crowd.

The Irish side suffered defeat in their Pool 6 opener against Harlequins, leaving it an uphill battle to progress to the knockout stages, but Elwood believes his team are growing for their European experience.

“I thought it was going to be difficult and it was,” said Elwood. 

“If I am honest we’d like to have gotten a better start. There was probably a little bit of over-respect at the start of the game, they got a couple of good, early scores.

“But I think we grew into at the start of the second half, and had a better second half. But all in all you can’t fault the effort. We were up against quality and we knew that.

“You saw what they brought off the bench, their physicality, they hardly missed a tackle all night, their strength at the breakdown was immense. 

“I am just happy that we got a try for our hard effort. But all in all it was a huge experience for us.”