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Stephen Ferris has criticised Connacht for “shooting themselves in the foot” after Tom Daly was red-carded early on against Leinster.

Connacht have endured a frustrating season so far, as they can play excellently one game and then very poorly the next, while they have also relinquished some healthy leads late on against the likes of Leicester Tigers and Stade Francais.

Last Saturday was another frustrating night for the westerners, as a red card for Tom Daly in the second minute left them with a mountain to climb against Leinster, and their provincial rivals ultimately eased to victory.

Former Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris was speaking on Premier Sports URC Unloaded podcast and bemoaned Connacht’s inability to capitalise on their opportunities.

Stephen Ferris on Connacht’s season so far.

“Do you know what? Any time he’s played for Connacht over the last couple of games [Daly] has actually been quite poor,” Ferris said.

“I thought they would have gone with Sammy Arnold in the centre, but they went with him. The red card was given and Leinster gave away a yellow card [beforehand], straight up off the kick-off.

“So all of a sudden the game is going full-on, ‘Boys, we’ve a good side out, Leinster are down to 14 men. Let’s go.’ Jack Carty then misses the touch, off the missed touch Leinster then come back up the pitch and Daly gets red-carded.

“When are Connacht going to learn? They’ve got so many good players but they just keep shooting themselves in the foot.”

A top eight finish in the URC is looking unlikely.

Connacht now look very unlikely to qualify for the URC quarter-finals and for next season’s Heineken Champions Cup, as they are eight points behind the Sharks in eighth place, who also have a game in hand.

A two-game tour of South Africa also awaits Connacht, where they will play the Lions and Sharks, both of whom will be confident they can claim wins on home soil.

There is still all to play for in the Champions Cup, as Connacht will face Leinster in a two-legged encounter in the coming weeks, although they will need to improve massively if they hope to beat the four-time European champions.

Next up is a trip to Treviso this weekend where they will face Benetton, who have struggled in recent times without their Italian internationals.

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