Connacht fall to late defeat against Ospreys




Connacht's Jarrad Butler is consoled by Dan Lydiate of Ospreys after the game. Picture: INPHO/Alex Davidson

Ospreys 22 - 17 Connacht

Full-back Dan Evans scored a dramatic late try to earn a depleted Ospreys side a thrilling 22-17 victory over Connacht in the region's first-ever home Guinness PRO14 clash at the Brewery Field.

With the scores locked at 17-17 in the 80th minute, centre Cory Allen made a break for the line and went close to scoring before Evans went over for the try, which was awarded after being dramatically referred to the TMO.

It secured the bonus point for Ospreys after earlier scores for Keelan Giles (two) and debutant scrum-half Harri Morgan.

Connacht scored two second-half tries through Bundi Aki and skipper Jarrad Butler, with Jack Carty kicking a drop goal and a conversion.

Out for the past month, Wales flanker Dan Lydiate started as the only Ospreys player to be released by Wales to the region this weekend.

Ospreys, captained for the first time by flanker Olly Cracknell, were without 20 players, including all of their other Wales internationals, with Lydiate having not played since the victory over Zebre last month after picking up a shoulder injury.

Connacht included their Ireland quartet in their line-up: Aki, scrum-half Kieran Marmion, prop Finlay Bealham and second-row Quinn Roux all started.

Though the Irish province did look the stronger side on paper, Ospreys dominated most of the first half to lead 10-3 at the interval.

Ospreys' lead came through two Giles tries in the opening nine minutes.

The first of the wing's scores came in the second minute as he raced down the left, kicked ahead and then regathered.

And seven minutes later fly-half Davies produced a pinpoint cross kick for Giles to go over on the left. Davies missed both his conversion attempts.

Connacht's first concerted attack produced a simple drop goal for Carty, even though a try looked on.

Ospreys' domination of the first 30 minutes was down to a more superior kicking game but Connacht did threaten the home line five minutes from time only to fail to close the seven-point deficit.

Ospreys suffered a setback six minutes into the second half when number eight Rob McCusker was yellow carded for a high tackle on Connacht wing Cian Kelleher.

But despite being down a man Ospreys crossed for their third try six minutes later when Morgan was on hand to support an Allen break into the 22. Davies added the conversion to give the home side a 14-point lead.

But as the game entered its business end Connacht showed their strength and resilience to score two tries from Aki and Buttler from short range as Ospreys' discipline let them down.

Carty just missed with a 78th-minute drop-goal attempt before Ospreys went down the other end to seal a dramatic success.

- PA

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