Connacht rediscover their form in Galway

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 21:36
Large jake heenan connacht 800

PRO12 FRIDAY WRAP: Connacht finally looked like the side who claimed the Pro12 title last term.

They notched up their first win of the season, beating Edinburgh 28-15 in Galway.

* In the other Friday match Alex Allan's first try of the season saw Glasgow Warriors get back to winning ways in the Pro12 as they survived a second-half fightback from Newport Gwent Dragons to win 26-17 at Rodney Parade.

We look at Friday's matches!

Connacht 28-15 Edinburgh

Connacht finally looked like the side who claimed the Pro12 title last term as they notched up their first win of the season, beating Edinburgh Rugby 28-15 in Galway.

The hosts went in at the break 18-10 to the good thanks to scores from Niyi Adeolokun and Quinn Roux, which sandwiched Edinburgh skipper Grant Gilchrist's effort.

And Connacht again outscored the visitors by two tries to one after half-time, with Mike Allen's try no more than a consolation as replacement Cian Kelleher and Peter Robb secured a bonus-point win.

Connacht got off to the worst possible start as Kelleher had to come on for injured wing Matt Healy in just the third minute, and Jason Tovey put the visitors ahead with a penalty from close range two minutes later.

But Pat Lam's men were not in the mood to lie down in front of an expectant Galway audience, and after their forwards earned a penalty on halfway from an Edinburgh scrum, Connacht were able to build the phases before Adeolokun pinned his ears back and charged over the whitewash.

Jack Carty made no mistake with the extras to make it 7-3, before adding the game's second penalty inside the Edinburgh 22 moments later.

Gilchrist hit back for his side however in an end-to-end opening to the clash, after Tovey made a half break and set up his skipper to score a well-worked try.

Flyhalf Tovey levelled the scores temporarily with the conversion, but that lasted all of two minutes as the visitors were penalised for coming in at the side and Carty struck his third kick from the tee through the posts.

Edinburgh spent most of the next quarter of an hour camped inside their own 22, but handling errors from the hosts and resolute scrimmaging from Duncan Hodge's men kept the Pro12 champions at bay until the four minutes from the break.

But Roux finally breached their defences to go over in the right corner to make their pressure count - although Carty missed his first attempt of the evening to make it 18-10 at the interval.

Connacht came out flying after the interval, winning a penalty at the breakdown to kick to the Edinburgh 10-metre line, and Carty's delightful one-handed offload saw Kelleher over for his first try for the club.

The visitors pushed hard for a way back into the contest, but once they finally forced their way into Connacht's 22, a series of huge defensive tackles from the hosts forced the knock-on.

Connacht were able to stop a driving maul from Edinburgh in the 63rd minute, but it was game on again ten minutes from time as the Scots finally made all their pressure count.

Great handling from the Edinburgh backline bought Allen the space out wide to run in, although crucially Tovey's conversion from out wide hit the post to keep Connacht eight points clear.

But in the end that miss did not prove decisive as the hosts secured their try bonus point just three minutes later, centre Robb racing into the corner to take the final score to 28-15.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Tries:
Adeolokun, Roux, Kelleher, Robb
Con: Carty
Pens: Carty 2

For Edinburgh:
Tries:
Gilchrist, Allen
Con: Tovey
Pen: Tovey

Teams:

Connacht: 15 Tiernan O'Halloran, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Bundee Aki, 12 Peter Robb, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 John Muldoon (captain), 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Eoin McKeon, 5 Ultan Dillane, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 Conor Carey, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 James Connolly, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Shane O'Leary, 23 Cian Kelleher.

Edinburgh: 15 Glenn Bryce, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Chris Dean, 12 Solomoni Rasolea, 11 Michael Allen, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Cornell Du Preez, 7 John Hardie, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Grant Gilchrist (captain), 4 Ben Toolis, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Rory Sutherland.
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Jack Cosgrove, 18 Allan Dell, 19 Lewis Carmichael, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Sasa Tofilau, 23 Blair Kinghorn.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Simon Rees (Wales), John Carvill (Ireland)
TMO: Jon Mason (WRU)

Newport Gwent Dragons 17-26 Glasgow Warrior

Alex Allan's first try of the season saw Glasgow Warriors get back to winning ways in the Pro12 as they survived a second-half fightback from Newport Gwent Dragons to win 26-17 at Rodney Parade.

Glasgow Warriors were looking to avoid losing three successive league games for the first time since the 2010/11 campaign and looked in control at half-time as they led 16-3 thanks to a Corey Flynn try and the boot of Finn Russell.

But two tries in five minutes after the restart from Sam Hobbs and Jack Dixon saw the Dragons nudge one point ahead.

However, the lead was shortlived as Allan put the visitors back in front and Russell kicked a late penalty en route to recording a fifth-straight victory over the Dragons.

The home side had the first chance to get on the scoreboard but Nick Macleod sent his fifth-minute penalty wide after Glasgow were pinged for not rolling away.

And just moments later Russell showed Macleod how it is done as he slotted his effort through the posts to give Glasgow the lead as Hallam Amos conceded a penalty after scrambling back in defence.

The home side went straight on the attack and after 12 phases looked as though they were destined for the game's first try, only to lose possession and the Warriors to kick the ball away.

And it led to a chance for the visitors as a clever cross-kick from Russell was straight into the hands of Tommy Seymour, but the wing knocked on following pressure from Dragons full-back Carl Meyer.

But Glasgow did nudge further ahead on 25 minutes as Dragons lock Rynard Landman illegally used his hand to flick the ball away at a ruck and Russell made it two kicks from two attempts.

And things got even better for the visitors as a drive following a line out resulted in Flynn going over, with Russell converting for a 13-0 lead just before the half-hour mark.

However, moments later Glasgow flanker Fraser Brown was adjudged to have put in a no-arms tackle on Dragons No.8 Lewis Evans and was sent to the sin bin, with Macleod successful with the resulting penalty to get the home side on the scoreboard.

But from the restart the Dragons were offside in their own 22 and Russell handed the Warriors back their 13-point lead as they visitors went in at half-time 16-3 ahead.

The Dragons started the second half strongly though and a strong carry from centre Dixon saw prop Hobbs spin out of a tackle and dot down, with Macleod adding the extras to bring his side to within six of the Warriors.

And the home side led for the first time just five minutes later as Dixon started and finished a move - that also saw good link up play Sam Beard and Amos - with Macleod once again converting.

The lead didn't last long, however, as prop Allan demonstrated his impressive feed to cross the whitewash, with Russell converting.

That gave Glasgow a 23-17 lead after 52 minutes and the game became somewhat disjointed as a raft of replacements were introduced.

It was the home side who were next to threaten, but a mix up between Evans and Rhys Buckley resulted in a knock on with the Dragons just five metres out.

And at the other end Russell knocked over a late penalty to deny the Dragons a losing bonus point.

The scorers:

For Newport Gwent Dragons:
Tries:
Hobbs, Dixon
Cons: Macleod 2
Pen: Macleod

For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries:
Flynn, Allan
Cons: Russell 2
Pens: Russell 4

Teams:

Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Pat Howard, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Lewis Evans (captain), 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Rynard Landman, 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Thomas Rhys Thomas, 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Harrison Keddie, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Angus O'Brien, 23 Tom Prydie.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Tommy Seymour 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Rory Hughes, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Henry Pyrgos (co-captain), 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Fraser Brown, 6 Lewis Wynne, 5 Jonny Gray (co-captain), 4 Rob Harley, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Alex Allan.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 D'Arcy Rae, 19 Robert McAlpine, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 Ali Price, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Leonardo Sarto.

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ireland)

Source: @PRO12rugby

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