"Let's just say the truth - Connacht hate Leinster so much" - Darren Cave 1 month ago

"Let's just say the truth - Connacht hate Leinster so much" - Darren Cave

"They were my second favourite team, until they gave Ulster an absolute spanking."

Six games into the United Rugby Championship season and we are still not entirely sure what to make of Connacht.

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Andy Friend's side lost three of their first four URC games and we being told, by pundits and fans, that they were already in must-win territory when they faced Ulster. They won that game by 25 points and, last Friday, beat Ospreys with 26 to spare.

The westerners have scored the most points this season [177] and are averaging four tries a game. With 124 points conceded, though, they are 9th in the league, on that front, and sixth in the overall standings. Their next game, against Leinster on Friday, should tell us a whole lot more.

On the latest House of Rugby URC episode [LISTEN from 16:25 below], Darren Cave discussed Connacht's fascinating season and looked ahead to what should be a real tilt against the champions.

Leinster's James Lowe runs out at The Sportsground in November 2019. (Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile)

Connacht looking to prove a point

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"Connacht have been unbelievable," says Darren Cave, "but I don't know what to make of them.

"What is it with them? Sometimes I watch them and it's like, 'Back to 2003, let's disband them!'" Cave joked.

"And sometimes I watch them and just go, 'They are the best'. I watched them against Ulster and they were incredible. And they beat the Bulls [34-7] too, earlier in the season. Then they go out and look poor against the Dragons.

"But you see how they play - they are the only team that can play rugby like that in those [blustery, rainy] conditions at The Sportsground. Them and the Crusaders."

Shayne Bolton celebrates after scoring for Connacht against Ospreys. (Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile)
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Darren Cave on animosity between Connacht and Leinster

While Greg O'Shea raved about fullback Oran McNulty, who scored a try and had an assist on his full Connacht debut, Cave reversed his highest praise for centre Shayne Bolton.

"It's amazing how quick it changes," Cave reflected. "If they had lost to Ulster, they would have down down around the bottom four. But two great wins and five points apiece, and they're absolutely flying. Good on them."

"Connacht always seem to give Leinster a tough time," he added.

"I just think that they... let's just say the truth - Connacht just hate them so much."

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There has always been some bite between the provinces, but that has only intensified since 2015/16 when Connacht went all the way to league title glory and dusted Leinster in the final.

Back in 2018, several Leinster supporters were not impressed that Connacht captain John Muldoon stepped up to take the final conversion in a 47-10 win over their side.

"On one more note," Muldoon said after his farewell game, "I apologise for taking the conversion, it wasn't meant in a bad way."

Leinster are coming off the back of a 20-10 defeat to Ulster that saw them fail to even pick up a losing bonus point. Coach Leo Cullen says several of Leinster's second string players may have to wait a while before they get another chance.

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This Friday, expect to see a Leinster XV and bench crammed with internationals. If Connacht can pick up another impressive win, they will put every URC side on notice.

WATCH THAT EPISODE HERE: