Published: 11:41 | 17/5/21

Friend salutes 'proud day' for Connacht


Connacht head coach Andy Friend called last Friday's 24-20 Rainbow Cup win over Munster at Thomond Park a 'proud day' for the province.

Speaking after watching his side achieve what was only their second victory over Munster at Thomond Park since 1986 and the first anywhere of his three year tenure, Friend was full of praise for his players.

The Westerners produced a performance full of style and determination to shock their hosts and get themselves back into the the reckoning for a Rainbow Cup final place.

It was a remarkable showing following their 50-21 hammering at the hands of Leinster in Galway a week earlier.

"It is a proud day because there's been a lot going on this season," he said.

"The way we capitulated last Saturday, we weren't proud of that.

"To come to Thomond Park against a pretty good Munster side, you know what lies ahead of you but I just thought jerseys one to 23 stood up. I thought they were immense. To walk away from Thomond with a victory is a really proud moment.

"To me that's the best I've seen us for 80 minutes. Listen, there were a few rockets placed up people's backsides during the week but there was a response, and that's what you want.

"I think back to Leinster away from home, that was a proud moment. Ulster away from home, the first time we did it. This one... they're all big moments because the inter-pros mean so much.

"This was the first time since I've been here that we've beaten Munster, it was the only team I hadn't knocked off.

"That's also a really special one for us as a team. We've been oh so close a couple of times, lost by six points at The Sportsground, lost by three up here at Thomond not so long ago.

"To eek out that win now, especially after the week we've had where there'd have been a lot of doubters. 

"We threw some challenges out and the challenges were answered. In my view it's going to launch us to another level, which is really exciting."

Image: Sportsfile

**Watch more Rainbow Cup action with Sharks v Stormers and Lions v Bulls this Saturday on eir sport 2 from 11.55am.

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