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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 16 April, 2014

Children can go watch Connacht versus Dragons for free this weekend

The province is hoping to keep up their Heineken Cup momentum

Connacht's captain Craig Clarke with mascot Jamie Connolly in November of this year.
Connacht's captain Craig Clarke with mascot Jamie Connolly in November of this year.
Image: INPHO/James Crombie

CONNACHT RUGBY IS seeking to keep up the feel-good spirit of their recent Heineken Cup win over Toulouse by allowing supporters under 17 to attend their match against Dragons for free.

The province had a sell-out crowd of 7,761 at the Sportsground last weekend for their Heineken Cup return tie with the four-time European champions. The French side won 37-9 but Connacht coach Pat Lam commended the home crowd for their loud, encouraging support all evening. The previous weekend, Lam’s men had won 16-14 against the same opponents.

Connacht released a statement on their website this afternoon stating that all boys and girls under the age of 17 could attend their Pro12 match against Newport Gwent Dragons free of charge. Anyone who has purchased a kids’ ticket in advance will get a free refund, once the ticket is produced at the box office, this Saturday. Santa will also be in his grotto at the ground, with the club handing out presents to young supporters at half-time.

Connacht are currently bottom of the Pro12 standings and captain Craig Clarke issued a rallying call to his teammates at the weekend. He told

We’re bottom of the league, it’s a simple fact. How we go about changing that is bottling what we [away to Toulouse] and some of the things we did tonight and putting it on the track. If we can do that, then the table will look after itself.”

The flu virus that impinged Connacht’s plans of recording back-to-back wins over Toulouse is easing. The entire squad was given Monday off to prevent a further spread of the virus, which affected 12 senior players last week.

Training resumed today without versatile back Craig Ronaldson. The former Lansdowne player tore his hamstring during a 90-second cameo against Toulouse and will be out of action for four weeks. Michael Swift and Ronan Loughney [cheek fractures] are making good progress on their respective comebacks but will miss this weekend’s league clash.

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