Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Back to the drawing board for Connacht

by John O’Sullivan

The rugby family is a tight knit one, so the tragic passing of Nevin Spence has rocked it to its very core. Not only have we lost an extremely talented young player, we've lost an extraordinary young man. His death, though, reminds us that's it's just a game and despite what Bill Shankly said sport pales into insignificance compared to life and death.

I, on behalf of both of Connacht Rugby and my own club, Connemara RFC, would like to wish our sincere condolences to the Spence family.

His memory will live on.

Years spent in relative rugby obscurity has made Connacht fans a resolute bunch, and despite defeat on Saturday against the in form Scarlett's, there are many positives for the Connacht clan.

Season after season, Connacht's squad goes through major chances with players coming and going in large numbers, thus making it harder for many players to strike up a relationship on the pitch which is an obvious handicap Connacht have in comparison to their richer and more illustrious neighbours, Munster, Ulster and Leinster. With the above in mind, it was encouraging to see Nathan White make his first, and what many Connacht fans hope will be the first of many, starts for the Province. The former Leinster prop signed a three year deal at the end of last season and every appearance he makes is another step towards being fully accustomed to his new surroundings and team mates which will, with Whites qualifies, undoubtedly benefit Connacht for the next three seasons or so.

I've often championed Connacht's indigenous young talent and three of those players shone on Saturday. Indeed, Eoin Griffin, Damien Browne and Kieran Marmion excelled against quality opposition. Griffin will take much of the kudos, and rightly so, due to his well taken try, but Marmion and Browne deserve praise for their crisp passing and ball carrying respectively.

Marmion, in particular, despite his tender years, has oozed composure and class this season and I would bet that, of he keeps this form up over the coming years, he'll add to his Irish underage caps with some senior ones.

However, aside from the aforementioned positives, Eric Elwood will not be pleased that his sides usually stingy defence was breached on four occasions. Scarlets scored three times in ten crazy minutes just after half time and concentration, it appears, played a big part in those tries.

It's back to the drawing board for Elwood, but he'll be heartened.

I’m John O’Sullivan, 20. Part time student, full time sports nut. Love rugby and am currently the PRO of Connemara RFC. I also do some radio work for my local station. One day, I would love to be a Sports Journalist/Broadcaster. I would like to thank Jeff for giving me the chance to cover my beloved Connacht on ‘Harpin2’, looking forward to a great season!

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