Ospreys will likely add to the gloom around the Sportsground
Discounting Italian teams and the Dragons, who have been providing become increasingly facile victories, Connacht have won only two matches this season.
In September they overwhelmed Leinster 34-6 in Galway but failed to back it up, with a two wins from seven return (against Zebre and Treviso) before another wonderful Sportsground evening, beating Biarritz 22-14.
There hasn’t been a genuinely positive result since. It leaves them with four wins from 14 Pro12 outings.
Furthermore, a replacement for the Leinster bound Mike McCarthy is yet to be signed, and the London-born lock could be laid up for a while with the medial knee ligament damage playing against England last Sunday.
The obvious positive has been the rapid progress of homegrown teenage fullback Robbie Henshaw – re-signed and returned to the team tonight after making his Ireland under-20 debut – and the England-educated scrumhalf Kieran Marmion.
There has also been noticeable progress in the frontrow, with Denis Buckley and Jason Harris-Wright making strides alongside the steady leadership of Nathan White (Buckley returned to training this week after knee ligament damage but isn’t selected).
The Ospreys travel out west in fine form after moving up into the top four. They may be without their Welsh contingent, particularly outhalf Dan Biggar and tighthead Adam Jones, but Alun-Wyn Jones will use this outing to build his fitness.
With the brilliant Samoan scrumhalf Kahn Fotiali’i directing matters, it is hard to see Connacht turning their poor season around in this fixture.