Connacht won their first 15 games against Zebre in the league and Europe but have gone down on the last three occasions they have met.

And with former Connacht coach Michael Bradley bringing a confident Zebre side to the Sportsground on Saturday after opening with a bonus-point win, Andy Friend will have his charges on guard.

Friend looked set to crown his reign at the Sportsground with a win last weekend but they coughed up a nine-point lead in the final quarter and were pipped 27-26 by Glasgow Warriors.

Now Friend wants them to bounce back but knows the Italians will have a swagger after ousting the Southern Kings 32-16.

"I had a look at their game and that was a good victory for them against the Kings," said the new Connacht coach.

"They’ve had a win, we have had a loss so we will see what happens but they will have got a boost from that win."

He said that while they were very disappointed to get caught by Glasgow, he feels they will rectify a lot this week.

"There was a lot of good things to take out of that game. Of course we were disappointed to lose it, we were nine points up in the final quarter.

"Sometimes you get clouded by the result, it didn’t go our way against Glasgow but there is plenty of good football in this team and hopefully we will see that against Zebre.

"I know that if we keep that energy, we keep believing in ourselves and the style we want to play, we are going to make it very difficult for a lot of sides," added Friend.