Connacht head coach Eric Elwood believes Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Munster is the perfect opportunity for his side to bounce back from their Heineken Cup defeat at Biarritz.
The French outfit were 17-0 victors at Stade Aguilera, avenging their loss at the Sportsground a week previously.
Now Elwood, who made 168 appearances for the Irish region, is urging his squad to raise their game for the visit of Munster, a team they have beaten just once since 1986.
But he believes the fixture has come at the perfect time for his 10th-placed men who are all eager to return to winning ways.
“We want to bounce back in this big derby match,” Elwood told the Irish Examiner.
“When you play Munster you have to go toe to toe, and for us to do that we need to be able to choose from a near full squad.
“We know what is coming and what to expect so it’s a good fixture for us to get, especially at home.
“We are looking forward to improving again on our intensity levels from last week because when you are playing a powerhouse like Munster, you certainly need to match them physically and have a level of intensity to your game.”
As well as a poor record in past meetings with Munster, Connacht will be looking to arrest a run of just one win in their last five RaboDirect PRO12 games.
And having endured a long journey back from Biarritz, Elwood hopes returning to familiar home surroundings will boost his team.
“We went to Biarritz with high hopes but it was a long journey home,” he said.
“We went over there hoping to play, but weather conditions dictated what we could and could not do and it just became a bit of an arm wrestle. We made a pretty bad error in defence and I thought their kicking game was very good.
“It was also pretty miserable weather when they played Zebre, so it’s something they are used to and they have the artillery to be able to play in those conditions.”