Winning run continues as Connacht deny Dragons

Connacht 19 Dragons 14

Having defeated leaders the Ospreys away last week, this was another notable scalp for Connacht as they condemned the Dragons to their third defeat in a row for the first time in the Celtic League.

Former Irish international Matt Mostyn was once again the try-scoring hero as Connacht continued their climb up the Celtic League table.

Mostyn, whose try secured the shock win away to leaders the Ospreys last week, struck against his former club for a vital try after ten minutes.

Connacht were defending a Dragons onslaught into the teeth of a strong wind when Darren Yapp picked up a sloppy pass in midfield before scorching through and offloading in the tackle for Mostyn to score under the posts. Paul Warwick added the conversion and then landed a penalty five minutes later to put Michael Bradley’s men 10-3 in front.

Mostyn’s try proved to be a huge set-back for a Dragons side hoping to avoid losing three Celtic League games on the trot.

They needed a good start when they had the wind and a Craig Warlow penalty after three minutes set them up well. However, Mostyn’s try took the wind out of their sails and it took them most of the opening half to haul back the deficit.

Warlow added penalties after 18 and 26 minutes to reduce the deficit and they went ahead for the first time six minutes from the break when scrum-half Gareth Baber broke on the blindside to touch down in the right corner. But Connacht hit back and fly-half Warwick, the former Australian sevens skipper, displayed his array of skills when he landed a drop goal with his weaker left foot on the stroke of the break.

Connacht dominated proceedings after the restart but struggled to break down a resolute Dragons’ defence. However, the pressure paid off going into the final quarter when Warwick landed a penalty to edge them in front.

He put further daylight between the sides six minutes from time with another successful kick.

Connacht had to withstand a strong finish from the Dragons but deservedly held on for the perfect boost ahead of next week’s big Parker Pen Challenge Cup clash against Montpellier.

CONNACHT: M. Mostyn; J. Meagher, D. Yapp, J. Downey, C. McPhillips; P. Warwick, C. Keane; D. McFarland, J. Fogarty, S. Knoop; C. Short, A. Farley; J. Muldoon, M. Lacey, J. O’Sullivan. Replacements: E. Elwood for Meagher, 54 mins; B. Jackman for Fogarty, 58 mins; M. Swift for Muldoon, 71 mins; R. Hogan for McFarland, 75 mins.

DRAGONS: K. Morgan; G. Wyatt, S. Tuipulotu, S. Winn, N. Brew; C. Warlow, G. Baber; R. Snow, J. Richards, R. Thomas; I. Gough, P. Sidoli; J. Ringer, J. Forster, R. Oakley. Replacements: K. Crawford for Brew, 57 mins; R. Beattie for Gough, 60 mins; S. Jones for Richards, 60 mins; A. Black for Thomas, 65 mins.

Referee: A. Ireland (Scotland).

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