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Muldoon and Connacht ready for European challenge

Guinness PRO12 Editor

13 Oct 2016

They have experienced a tough start to their defence of the Guinness PRO12 title but Connacht skipper John Muldoon insists it will be all change in Europe.

Connacht have been placed in a difficult European pool alongside Italians Zebre, high-flying Wasps and French giants Toulouse.

Pat Lam’s men have ensured a mixed campaign so far in the Guinness PRO12 having won two and lost three of their opening five matches, but Muldoon has called for calm.

The bulldozing No.8, who played a key role in last weekend’s win against Ulster, is refusing to panic just yet and is convinced good times are firmly on the horizon.

“It has obviously been a tough couple of weeks for us – we’ve been disappointed with the results and a few not-so-typical moments mean the performances haven’t been where we want them to be,” said Muldoon, with European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) is the organiser of the European Rugby Champions Cup, the European Rugby Challenge Cup and the Challenge Cup Qualifying Competition. Follow all the excitement of another thrilling season of European action at www.epcrugby.com

“The most positive thing from that is that each week we’ve worked on stuff and each week we’ve seen an improvement in those areas.

“As a coach and a player, that’s what you’re looking for – that progression. We haven’t put it together for a full 80 minutes but the improvement is important.

“Moving on to Europe is refreshing but it is a challenge and a different mindset.

“It’s an exciting mindset to go into because you know you can’t afford to be losing games, especially early doors.

“To start with a home game is huge. Toulouse has some of the biggest history in the competition so it’s a big challenge but an exciting challenge.

“There’s a big buzz about the place when it comes to that type of rugby and it certainly is a nice place to be.

“I’m sure the fans will be looking forward to it, so it’s always a good week.”

Connacht begin their European campaign with a home fixture against Toulouse on Saturday and Muldoon revealed confidence is high among the group they can progress from the toughest of groups.

“I think there’s a belief deep down that if we get things right, we will win matches. There’s also a belief in our ability which can’t be underestimated,” he added.

“Pat Lam talks about doing the right things in training and when you have those things, you know when you’re not producing it in matches.

“Pat is a big believer in if you do it in training, you’ll get that aspect right at the weekend and that instils confidence in you.

“Even during the early losses this year, no-one was panicking and although it was frustrating, we always knew if we continued doing things well we would get the result.

“We went through something similar last year, when we lost four or five games on the bounce around Christmas time, so I said to the players ‘we’ve been here before’.

“What we did back then was work hard on certain areas and saw improvements straight away, so we weren’t panicking.

“When you get a good win like we did last weekend – it helps, even though we made a lot of mistakes.”

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