First win brings belief, says Connacht boss Keane
Connacht 32 South Kings 10
Connacht coach Kieran Keane didn't want to get carried away with his first win but at the same time acknowledged this was a big outcome as he moulds a side together at the Sportsground.
A win was the minimum requirement against the hastily-assembled outfit from Port Elizabeth after a disappointing home opener to Glasgow Warriors, while a late bonus point ensured the crowd of 5,104 went home with a spring in their step as the season gets up and running in earnest.
“When you have a team that is striving to do well to get a win, and a bonus point win, it is a massive fillip for us. It brings a little bit more belief, for the side, for the coaching staff and for the whole place,” said Keane.
The New Zealander was the first to acknowledge that there is ample room for improvement, along with it being helpful to get the Southern Kings at this stage of the season as the South Africans try to put a side together after the turmoil which followed their Super Rugby campaign.
The Kings will undoubtedly improve as the campaign progresses — for a start, they will need to adjust to the law implementations — but Keane is hopeful that Connacht will also gather momentum from this.
They had three tries on the board by the interval to lead 24-5 and he was pleased that they did not panic when the bonus point was slow to arrive, eventually being confirmed when Darragh Leader did well to score in the corner 10 minutes from time.
“It was pretty good and we didn’t want to turn it into a festival and we made mention of that at half-time.
“We wanted to tighten it up and it became a little bit messy for various reasons but we have come out of it okay.”