Connacht head coach Andy Friend hailed his players' resolve after their stirring Pro14 comeback win over Cheetahs on Saturday night.

The victory, which was also the South Africans' first defeat of the season, sent Connacht top of Conference B on points difference ahead of Munster.

"I'm really pleased for the players," Friend told RTÉ Sport's Darren Frehill. "There's a lot of belief in this team.

"Fortune favours the brave and we were brave out there. We managed to get the bonus point and the win."

The Westerners had led 14-5 at half-time but converted tries from Rhyno Smith and Clayton Blommetjies, either side of a Ruan Pienaar penalty, had the visitors eight ahead coming into the final 10 minutes.

A red card for Dries Swanepoel helped to open up the space however and two tries from replacement Tom Farrell, the second in the 85th minute, sealed a 24-22 victory.

"We started really well and went in at half-time knowing we would possibly have a breeze behind us but the wind died down," said Friend.

"We lost Gav Thornbury and the momentum seemed to change. We did what we said we didn't want to do which was to kick loosely to them. They got it rolling with the penalty and two tries.

"For us to then claw that back and the boys backing themselves and getting the try at the end was pretty exciting.

"The red card definitely helped us but there is a lot of belief, and that's only going to strengthen that belief."

Friend fears lock Thornbury could be out of action for some time. He went to hospital after going off with an arm injury during the game.

"Gav Thornbury didn't look good coming off," he said.

"I think it's his elbow. We'll wait and see with that one.

"We haven't had the best run (of injuries) in the first four games but we've got a strong squad.

"We've got players sitting in behind who have been waiting for their opportunity and they'll get that."