Elwood happy with solid start

PA Sport
Eric Elwood was understandably happy to see Connacht gain a first away Heineken Cup victory
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Eric Elwood was understandably happy to see Connacht gain a first away Heineken Cup victory

Connacht head coach Eric Elwood was pleased his side opened their Heineken Cup Pool 3 campaign with a 19-10 victory at Zebre but was slightly disappointed they missed several opportunities to win by a bigger margin.

It was the province's first away triumph in this competition, with Dan Parks kicking four penalties and converting John Muldoon's 62nd-minute try.

"We're obviously very happy. An away win in the Heineken Cup is a great start for us," Elwood said. "We knew it was going to be difficult coming here after beating them in the PRO12 last month and they were certainly up for it."

He added: "Dan's kick just before half-time gave us a 9-3 cushion, that was good and we wanted to build on that in the second half. We're disappointed we didn't build on that lead - we missed three, four or five opportunities maybe to build on it and get a couple more scores.

"All in all though, it's a case of job done and it's a good start to our European campaign."

The key scores came after the hour mark as Parks' fourth penalty moved Connacht 12-3 clear and then man-of-the-match Muldoon took a quick tap to score the visitors' only try.

"We worked extremely hard on our defence, and got rewarded with that breakout (in the lead up to the try)," added Elwood. "We wanted to be more direct and forceful in the second half, we learnt and we coped and we got through in the end."

Next Saturday sees Connacht entertaining Aviva Premiership champions Harlequins in Galway where 'Quins' Heineken Cup hopes were extinguished by a 9-8 pool defeat last January.

Looking forward to that particular rematch, Elwood commented: "We're in a good place now. We're looking forward to Harlequins next week.

"Parksy coming in gives us another dimension. That's a young back-line and we're creating opportunities, that's the pleasing thing. We'll certainly have to be a bit more clinical when we're creating opportunities against Harlequins next week."

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