Connacht head coach Andy Friend was left disappointed by some of his team’s decision making after they were beaten by Bristol in the Heineken Champions Cup.
Reaching the quarter finals of the competition now looks almost impossible for Connacht, who have lost both of their opening fixtures in Europe’s premier tournament.
The home team’s discipline left lots to be desired at the Galway Sportsground, conceding 13 penalties over the course of the 80 minutes, losing 27-18 in the end.
FT| Despite a committed, physical display we fall to a 27-18 defeat.
— Connacht Rugby (@connachtrugby) December 20, 2020
Connacht stalwart Bundee Aki was sent to the sin bin for an obstruction after 46 minutes, which proved to be extremely costly for the westerners as they conceded 14 points over the following 10 minutes.
The Connacht head coach admitted that he wasn’t in a pleasant mood after seeing his side’s chances in the Heineken Champions Cup take a serious hit.
“Disappointed, frustrated, annoyed, cranky, all of those,” admitted Friend afterwards. “I just didn’t think we played our best footy out there.
“We got caught in an arm wrestle out there that we didn’t want to. I just think we did some dumb stuff out there.
“It is frustrating, but at the end of the day Bristol were the better team out there and you’ve got to give them credit for that,” Friend said.
‘You’ve got to trust the players on the field’
The western province did have an opportunity to salvage a losing bonus point in the game’s dying minutes, but inexplicably opted to go for the try, despite trailing by 9 points.
Connacht failed to score from the resultant scrum, but Friend insisted he still had faith in his side’s ability to make crucial decisions.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to trust the players out on the field and if they feel that they’ve got momentum with things and they think they can get over then I’ll back that,” Friend commented.
Connacht can turn their attention back to the Pro14 for the time being, as they welcome Ulster to Galway on the 27th of December.