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Michael Swift – RaboDirectPRO12 Connacht Ambassador Looks Forward to Munster Fixture

Guinness PRO12 Editor

17 Dec 2012

Christmas is coming but that will be the last thing on our minds this week as we entertain Munster this Saturday.

We start the week a little down after our loss in Biarritz at the weekend in conditions that can only be described as horrendous. I wasn't involved in the game as I am recovering from an injury to my groin but watching it on television I think some of the lads would have been better prepared wearing a snorkel rather than a scrum cap!

As I said, this week we welcome our close neighbours from down the road. Historically, interprovincial games between Connacht and Munster have been tight physical battles with the odd score separating the two sides and I'm sure this weekend will be no different. Munster will be reeling from their loss to Saracens in Watford last weekend and will be looking to get back to winning ways but hopefully with the Clan behind us we can chalk up another win for the province.

On the subject of our supporters, I have to say this year they have been magnificent. This is my 13th season with the province and over the years they have had to put up with a lot of drama and strife but have never complained. We are now seeing the fruits of our labour coming to fruition with the development of the Clan Terrace and overall general improvement to facilities here. Consequently, this season has seen an influx of new supporters coming through the gates for the first time. We've welcomed them all with open arms (even the die-hards who now have to jostle to get their usual space in the terrace!).

The lads played an intense, confrontational game on Friday and then faced into a long trip back from the south of France on the Saturday. Because of this stress on the body, training this week will gradually build up in intensity. With so many games to be played over the course of a season, player workload is a key part to managing a professional team these days. You have to strike the right balance between getting a player ready to perform at the weekend but also being in the right frame of mind both physically and mentally.

A quick mention must go to the Connacht Eagles who earned their first win in the British & Irish Cup on Saturday. The competition is providing young players with the opportunity to play in meaningful competitive fixtures that will hopefully see a smoother transition for them to the first team.

I'm sure Saturday night’s game versus Munster will be a sell-out and hopefully we can provide our supporters with some early Christmas cheer and celebrate with a glass of mulled wine in the Galway Christmas Market!
I want to wish every rugby supporter a Merry Christmas!