The last time Connacht played at the Aviva Stadium they put in a devastating performance that left Ulster dazed.
All has not been smooth sailing since that day last October but when Connacht returned to Lansdowne Road on Friday night they did so at much higher stakes and in front of fans who were absent from the previous doors.
That is a challenge in itself, says Peter Wilkins, but Connacht’s attacking coach has urged his players to take the opportunity to come back from a five-point deficit in the first leg and cause a major upset by knocking Leinster out throws Europe.
“We have fond memories of playing up there and the games we were successful in that environment,” Wilkins said.
“It’s a really positive vibe to play there and play in a really great stadium, but also knowing that we can travel there and win up there, and also against other opponents.
“The other side of that is it will probably be the biggest crowd any of these guys could have played in front of compared to previous games at the Aviva.
“So there’s a challenge of how you embrace the occasion rather than letting it consume you. It’s a challenge for the guys who may never have been in this environment before but at the same time I’m pretty confident that knowing the guys’ personalities and temperament they can handle it, it’s going to be a massive energizer for them you.
“It’s about processing that and using it as inspiration rather than letting it dig into you.”
Connacht’s chances of making the last eight will be boosted by impeccable health, with experienced duo Denis Buckley and Tiernan O’Halloran available for selection.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/connacht-rugby/connacht-coach-peter-wilkins-urges-westerners-to-embrace-aviva-experience-41548716.html Connacht trainer Peter Wilkins urges westerners to “embrace” the Aviva experience.