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Connacht a team for all seasons – McCarthy

Guinness PRO12 Editor

6 Nov 2012

When Treviso rocked up at the Sportsground on Saturday to sideways rain and a swirling wind they got the same sinking feeling which many a visiting team has experienced.

Connacht duly recorded an 18-3 RaboDirect PRO12 victory but second row Mike McCarthy insists his side have become a team for all seasons.

While a trip out west was regarded as a test of how to deal with the conditions as much as how to deal with the opposition, McCarthy believes Connacht have shown this season they are a far more complete team.

It’s hard to disagree with him based on their breathtaking display of attacking rugby as they put triple European champions Leinster to the sword in 34-6 success.

And while three wins from eight games is not quite the return that Eric Elwood’s side were after, McCarthy is adamant that provided Connacht can avoid lapses in concentration, they can improve on last year’s eighth-place finish.

He said: “We want to throw the ball around a bit more this year and show that we can play good rugby.

“Everyone remembers our win against Harlequins last season in pretty horrible conditions. But when we played them this year the weather was fine and we played pretty well.

“That was a frustrating game because we switched off for about ten minutes and it cost us very dear.

“But it showed that we are more than capable of holding our own against the top attacking teams.

“Against Leinster we had a little bit of confidence and it went really well for us. We’ve run out of steam a little at times but the important thing is that we try to improve on last year.

“To do that, we need to make sure that we cut out those periods where we switch off. That makes such a difference, we’ve lost a few games this year which we probably shouldn’t have because of it.”

This season is Connacht’s second playing in the Heineken Cup, but will also mark a sea change with the departure of head coach Elwood at the end of the year.

The former Irish international fly-half’s departure was a surprise to a lot of people but McCarthy insists it is up to him and his teammates to give the 43-year-old the perfect send-off.

“It was a bit of a shock to everyone to hear that Eric would be leaving at the end of the year,” added McCarthy.

“Eric loves Connacht and his passion for the club is great. It rubs off on everybody so we want to make sure he has a great final season.

“Everyone will be committed to the cause to make sure he finishes in style.

“We want to beat our position in the RaboDirect from last year. It’s our bread and butter and so important to us to keep moving up.”