Eric Elwood knows that all eyes will be on his Connacht team following last season’s best-ever RaboDirect PRO12 finish – but the coach insists he would not have it any other way.
Connacht enjoyed a fine campaign last time out, finishing the RaboDirect PRO12 season in eighth as well as recording their first-ever Heineken Cup win as they downed the soon-to-be English champions Harlequins 9-8.
To build on last year’s excitement Elwood is able to call on an impressive crop of new recruits, the likes of Dan Parks, Nathan White, Danie Poolman and Willie Faloon set to strut their stuff at the Sportsground this term.
With these new faces, and considering what they did last year, the pressure is on Connacht to take even greater strides forward this season.
But the man charged with doing exactly that admits he has no problem with this at all.
“We probably exceeded ourselves last season with eighth place, and people are expecting a lot from us, and that’s fine,” Elwood told the Galway Advertiser.
"Realistically it’s about looking for improvement. It is about the detail – if we get more of the detail right than we did last year, and we can close out those games that were narrow defeats, then we are going in the right direction.
“Obviously we had to let some players go, and we needed some changes, but all-in-all we did not have a big turnover like previous years.
As a result we have had stability in pre-season and, allied with the good new players coming in, we feel we are in good place.”