Browne confident Connacht’s style will reap rewards

Connacht's exciting brand of rugby may be earning plaudits, but it is not enough, says second-row Andrew Browne.

"We want to be more than a team known for playing great rugby, we want to win," the 29-years-old Galwegian says.

"We want to finish top six, we want to make the top European competition next year, and we go back to the league on Saturday with that in mind."

Munster are of course the visitors to the Sportsground in the first of three final Guinness Pro 12 fixtures, and although second in the table, Connacht want to nail down their qualification with a win on Saturday.

"A must win? Yes, it's another massive match, and they are all big ones from here on in," he says.

"We've been playing a great brand of rugby this year and it has led to a lot of success so far, but it's now come to the business end of the season when we are facing big games."

Connacht will be looking to use the heartbreak of their one-point European loss to Grenoble as a motivation to seal that Champions Cup place through the Pro 12, and it startd on Monday morning when the squad returned to the Sportsground to prepare for Munster's visit.

"Don't get us wrong, we played a good brand of rugby [ against Grenoble], but we were extremely disappointed to lose, so we have to take the positives and move forward to Munster. The dressing room in Grenoble was silent, it was very disappointing, so we know it's another big game on Saturday and we have to pick ourselves up for that."

Having missed Connacht's win in Thomond Park before Christmas with injury, Browne says he is looking forward to the occasion.

""It was a joy to play in an atmosphere like the Stade des Alpes where you can hardly hear yourself. I don't now how many line-out calls I had to repeat because the lads couldn't hear me, and that kind of atmosphere is brilliant. But it is special being back at home now, and we want to get the momentum back on track.

"We are aware of the press, aware that we are playing exciting rugby, that's a good thing, It's something we enjoy doing, but hopefully we get the rewards from it. Despite the disappointment in losing to Grenoble, we can still hold our heads very high as we look forward to Munster.

"After the game John Muldoon said the type of rugby we play had got us to where we are, so we have to believe in that process, keep it going, and we know we will get the rewards from it."

Browne, the younger brother of former Connacht and Leinster lock Damien, is also happy with his own form.

"I'd say I am playing the best rugby years. I've had injury hampered seasons in the past and knew I wasn't playing up to my own standard. But I am enjoying my rugby, enjoying training week-in week out-out, and my body feels the best it has done in years, so it has come from the enjoyment - if you enjoy what you are doing, you want to be good at it."

He says the type of rugby Connacht play has also been helped by its exciting backs, particularly try scorer and chief playmaker Matt Healy, who has been named in the one-day Ireland camp 'He's unbelievable. He has the X-factor. You try to get the ball out to him and you are nearly certain he's going to do something with it - break the first tackle, make some sort of line break, stretch the defence and we can be on the front foot because of that.

"He's a joy to play with, along with all the other exciting backs we have this season - the brand of rugby suits the backs we have and it showed out there against Grenoble and hopefully for the rest of the season, starting on Saturday."


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