Connacht earn a bonus with first win of the season

Connacht earn a bonus with first win of the season
Connacht’s Bundee Aki chats to referee Nigel Owens after the game. Pic: INPHO/James Crombie

Connacht 28 Edinburgh 15

Connacht ground Edinburgh into submission to win at the Sportsground to pick up their first points in this season's Guinness PRO12.

Tries from Niyi Adeolokun and Quinn Roux helped the hosts lead 18-10 at half-time in soggy conditions, with captain Grant Gilchrist touching down for Edinburgh.

The Scots, whose head coach Alan Solomons stepped down after three years on Wednesday, failed to take anything from the game despite Mike Allen's 70th-minute try. Connacht ended up as bonus point winners with Peter Robb crossing to add to Cian Kelleher's 45th-minute score.

Connacht lost Matt Healy early on to an arm injury and Jason Tovey knocked over a central penalty in the fifth minute.

But a fine break by Adeolokun from the 10-metre line saw him cross for his third try of campaign, converted by Jack Carty, and further surges from Kieran Marmion and powerful centre Robb kept the hosts on the front foot.

Carty's opening penalty put Connacht in double figures before Sean Kennedy sent second row Gilchrist over for a levelling seven-pointer.

Connacht's scrum, including impressive new tighthead Conor Carey, got on top, winning one against the head, and Edinburgh's resistance eventually broke in the 36th minute.

Tiernan O'Halloran and Kelleher punched holes with a series of direct runs, and Jake Heenan's excellent flick pass put Roux over in the right corner for his first ever score for the westerners.

Carty unlocked the Edinburgh defence just five minutes after the restart, outfoxing the covering Glenn Bryce with a superb offload out the tackle that put replacement Kelleher cantering clear for try number three.

Acting head coach Duncan Hodge would have been pleased with Edinburgh's response, however they failed to turn initial breaks from Damien Hoyland and Tovey into points with handling proving increasingly difficult.

Connacht dealt with the forward pressure too, man-of-the-match Heenan and Tom McCartney leading a resilient home defence. That was until winger Allen was freed up to score in the left corner, profiting from full-back Bryce's instinctive between-the-legs pass.

Tovey's conversion attempt came back off the post, however, and Connacht sealed this much-needed bonus point success just two minutes later. Robb used his strength to slip out of Hoyland's attempted tackle and raid in from the Scots' 22-metre line.

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