It was all action up in the Sportsground this morning with ground staff tending the pitch and first team squad members and academy players all getting set for a day’s training. The glorious weather had everybody in a good mood and highlighted the expanded facilities at the Sportsground to great effect.
I was there to talk with Alex Saul the relatively new head of marketing for Connacht Rugby as he heads in to the start of his first full season in the role. Alex is a dyed in the wool rugby man having worked previously with the Welsh rugby Union and before that working his way up through the ranks at ERC headquarters in Dublin. He has been busy since arriving from Wales and has a host of exciting ideas to improve the match day experience for supporters and generally driving Connacht Rugby forward.
Alex was buzzing after yesterdays Heineken Cup draw and believes that there are some great choices for Connacht rugby supporters looking to work in an away trip later in the year. Biarritz nestled in the Basque country is a unique rugby experience and the new Italian franchise Zebre, who are also in our pool, will be based in Parma the seat of the oldest university in the world and rightly famous for its local food and wine. If that’s not enough there is the prospect of a trip to London to visit the ever hospitable Harlequins in the stoop. The corresponding fixture last year saw Connacht play some of their best rugby and so nearly delivering a famous away day victory.
With Gavin Duffy having to postpone his holiday to join up with the Irish squad in New Zealand it brings to four the number of Connacht players represented in the squad. Alex believes that this is a great achievement and Connacht’s success in feeding the top of the pyramid in Irish rugby terms will ultimately be what Connacht Rugby is judged on.
As you can hear in the audio below Alex has settled well into Galway and has discovered the delights of walking the prom of an evening and the more exhilarating thrill of jumping into the wild Atlantic Ocean.