New Connacht head coach explai...

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New Connacht head coach explains how his wife's brain injury helped put things in perspective


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Last season was a disappointing one for Connacht Rugby after their stunning and unprecedented Guinness Pro 14 triumph of 2015-16.

But they are hoping for a fresh start as we approach the eve of the 2018-19 Pro 14 season as new head coach Andy Friend takes charge at the province.

The Australian joined Joe Molloy to talk about his plans for the coming months and he has four watch-words for his Connacht team, having discussed the events that led him to moving to the west of Ireland. 

You can listen to the full interview on the podcast player below or watch on the video player above:

New Connacht head coach explains how his wife's brain injury helped put things in perspective

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"We've got three words that describe our game," he said, adding that this is something that has been agreed upon between the players and coaching staff.

"One is tempo. We want to play an up tempo. The second one is accurate. So in order to do that, sometimes you can play up tempo but the skill set's not there and there's a lot of error.

"So we need to be accurate, therefore we need to focus on the small things and get the detail in our game.

"And the last one is physical. Rugby is a combative game so you need to be physical and you need to be up for that challenge.

"There's another word I'll add to that and that's ambitious. My view is you need to be ambitious to play the game of rugby. You can't go out there dreading mistakes because if you do, you play with fear and you don't see the best in people."

He also discussed how he's finding life in Connacht and around Galway where the team is based as well as his coaching past and knowing former Connacht head coach Pat Lam who led the province to success and set the template of attractive, attacking rugby.

But he also touched on a subject close to his heart which is the charity cycle for Brain Injury Australia and Outward Bound which he took part in back in his native Australia after his wife suffered a brain injury after a 2010 bike accident.

It occurred months before his time at Brumbies came to an end and losing his job was a blessing in disguise according to Friend as it allowed to be there for Kerri.

"Losing jobs is one thing but if there's an injury to a loved one of yours, that puts everything in perspective," he said.

"That happened about nine months before I lost my job. I suppose as a coach, you just keep working and you get on with things and to be honest, the sacking at the Brumbies was probably the best thing that could have happened because it gave me time then to focus on Kerri and I took a year off work and I came up with this hair-brained idea to ride a mountain bike from the top of Australia down to the bottom of Australia. And it was all around trying to give Kerri a purpose."  


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