Connacht launch Euro campaign with victory

Mont de Marsan 12 Connacht 26

Erasing memories of their scoreless display against Pontypridd the previous week, Connacht picked up the pieces in this Parker Pen Challenge Cup and came away from the Stade Guy Boniface with their 100% away run intact.

Connacht completed their recovery when scoring two first-half tries and then limiting the Cote Basque side to a single penalty in the second half.

The initial pressure had come from Mont de Marsan where out-half Waisali Severi showed the pace and flair which has made him a legend in world sevens rugby. With Italian referee Morandin consistently penalising Connacht for scrum infringements, Serevi was able to kick his side 6-0 ahead after 20 minutes.

A five metre scrum to Connacht after Mont de Marsan were penalised for a crooked line out produced the first score. Scrum-half Eoin Reddan did well from a dodgy scrum, popping the ball to left wing Wayne Munn who wriggled through. Eric Elwood added the conversion and a 32nd minute penalty before Reddan produced a piece of magic which turned the game. Breaking from 60 metres, and using Johnny O’Connor as a decoy, he evaded tackles to add another try to give Connacht a 9-17 half-time lead.

Then, Connacht outclassed the French Division 2 champions in the next 40 minutes. Marnus Uijs, Johnny O’Connor, and Colm Rigney were dominant in the loose as Connacht played an expansive game in front of an appreciative 3,000 spectators, while Rowan Frost and Damien Browne continued to dominate the line-outs.

Elwood added three penalites to put Connacht well ahead, while Serevi was on target with a single effort.

MONT DE MARSAN: O Toulouze, A Bouyssie, F Dabadie, A Vignau Tuquet, A Aguilar, W Severi, N Cabannes (capt), S Boizot, O Gouaillard, F Anglade, P Lago, M Koita, P Alaoui, L Monberg, J Labat. Replacements, J Vincent for Montberg (51m) Dehez Gouillard (56m), C Mathieu for Alaoui (64m), X Audu for Boizot (69m), F Lallane for Anglade (75m), S Loubsens for Cabannes (77m).

CONNACHT: G Duffy, J Norton, D Yapp, S Moore (cpt), W Munn, E Elwood, E Reddan, R McCormack, M Uijs, P Bracken, D Browne, R Frost, C Rigney, J O’Connor, J O’Sullivan. Replacements, G Flannery for Uijs, M McHugh for Moore, F Boiroux for Bracken, D McFarland for McCormack (all 66m), E Peters for Browne (76m), P Neville for O’Sullivan (76m), Yellow cards: P Lago (79M).

Referee: G Morandin (Italy).

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