An elated Andy Friend said he believes Connacht's Pro14 Rainbow Cup win at Munster can launch the province "to another level".

The Westerners beat Munster 24-20 on Friday night to claim only their second win at Thomond Park since 1986. It was the first time they'd beaten Munster since Friend took the reins three years ago.

Six days after being hammered 50-16 by Leinster on their own patch, Connacht produced a performance full of guts and character. For Friend, it was the perfect response.

"It is a proud day because there's been a lot going on this season," he said.

"The way we capitulated last Saturday, we weren't proud of that.

"To come to Thomond Park against a pretty good Munster side, you know what lies ahead of you but I just thought jerseys one to 23 stood up. I thought they were immense. To walk away from Thomond with a victory is a really proud moment.

"To me that's the best I've seen us for 80 minutes. Listen, there were a few rockets placed up people's backsides during the week but there was a response, and that's what you want."

Having guided Connacht to memorable away wins at Ulster and Leinster, this was a sweet clean sweep for Friend.

They have two Rainbow Cup games left - away to Benetton and at home to the Ospreys - with a place in the final not beyond them.

The men out west have the bit between their teeth again.

"I think back to Leinster away from home, that was a proud moment. Ulster away from home, the first time we did it. This one... they're all big moments because the inter-pros mean so much," added Friend.

"This was the first time since I've been here that we've beaten Munster, it was the only team I hadn't knocked off.

"That's also a really special one for us as a team. We've been oh so close a couple of times, lost by six points at the Sportsground, lost by three up here at Thomond not so long ago.

"To etch out that win now, especially after the week we've had where there'd have been a lot of doubters. We didn't stop doubting. We threw some challenges out and the challenges were answered. In my view it's going to launch us to another level, which is really exciting."

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