Joy for Connacht

CONNACHT brought a nine match losing run to an end by notching their ninth victory on French soil on Saturday when they shocked a Bayonne side who needed to win to stay in the hunt for a quarter-final spot in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

Connacht were already out of contention long before this fiery contest at Stade Jean Dauger, but they used the occasion to produce a display that offers coach Eric Elwood great hope for the remainder of the season.

“There have been so many matches this season which we had within our grasp and let slip. I feared it might happen again when we conceded tries either side of half-time but the response from our lads was great.”

Connacht led 22-16 at the break but Bayonne came out with all guns blazing after the restart and it looked like it would be a long night for Connacht with the home skipper Marc Baget broke through some weak defending for a 43rd minute try.

But it was Connacht who extended their lead when Keatley took his haul to 20 points with another penalty to leave it 25-21 going into the final quarter.

Connacht finished on the offensive and were rewarded when Sean Cronin put Tuohy in for the decisive score seven minutes from time. Carr sealed the win with a breakaway try in the dying moments.

BAYONNE: P Elhorga; G Ziegler, T Lacroix, S Fauque, J Pietersen; B Boyet, J Audy; T Lea’aetoa (P Lafond 59), A Heguy, D Avril (W Desmaison 63); R Linde, C Treloar (R Filipo 59); G Bernad, D Haare (J Marmouyet 59), M Baget (F Carillo 67).

CONNACHT: F Carr; S Monahan (M Nikora 70), E Griffin (K Matthews 52), N Ta’auso, B Tuohy; I Keatley, F Murphy; B Wilkinson (R Loughney 70), S Cronin, J Hagan (R Ah You 63); B Upton (M Swift 50), M McCarthy (A Flavin 68); A Browne, J O’Connor (S Conneely 29), M McComish.

Referee: P Allan (Scotland).

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