It’s been a season of highs and lows so far for Connacht, with enough highs to see them within touching distance of the playoffs. Connacht are 4 points ahead of rivals Cardiff Blues in conference A, while the Ospreys are 3 points further adrift.
If Connacht manage to hold on to third place it will be only their second time in the playoffs in their history, the last time, of course, was in the championship-winning season 2015-2016. Although fate might be against them with Connacht struggling in final games of the season, let us see what they will have to do to try and repeat that feat again this season.
Final two matches-
Cardiff Blues (H) – Connacht have struggled with Cardiff Blues throughout the history of the PRO14. They have always been tight affairs, with no more than 6 points separating the teams in the last four matches, 3 of which Cardiff Blues have won.
Munster (A) – Connacht have a dreadful record in Thomond, winning only once in the PRO14 and losing the last two games thereby at least 26 points.
Closings fixture history-
This has historically been a difficult period for Connacht with only the Championship winning season giving a positive return of the last five games of the regular season, winning three out of five. The last two seasons have seen Connacht pick up only one win in the last five games.
What is needed-
Putting it simply Connacht need to beat Cardiff to automatically qualify for both the PRO14 playoffs this season and the Champions Cup next season.
There are a myriad things that need to happen for Connacht to get Champions Cup rugby next season if they lose at home to Cardiff, hopefully, we won’t need to go into them next week.
While history might be against Connacht heading into these final games, History is there to be broken. Andy Friend has brought a belief back into this team