Connacht battle to victory

Connacht overcame the Newport Gwent Dragons to grab only their second away Rabo Direct Pro 12 victory since their opening day visit to Treviso.

Connacht racked up a 19—9 first-half lead, but the pendulum swung in Newport’s favour with a bizarre 15 — 3 penalty count against the visitors in the second. And with Ronan Loughney in the sinbin, and Eoghan Grace following suit after just a minute on the field, Connacht had to produce an immense defensive display.

The Dragons started the scoring with a penalty from outhalf Lewis Robling but Vainikolo then finished off in the corner and Nikora added the conversion to put Connacht 7 — 3 ahead. Within minutes Robling responded with a second penalty.

However, Nikora added three more penalties to give his side a 16— 6 lead.

When Wales international Dan Lydiate was binned Nikora stretched the lead to 13 points before the Dragons added a penalty .

But Vainikolo grabbed his second try within 57 seconds of the restart to keep Connacht in control..

Robling reduced the gap with a penalty after the break before Toby Faletau broke through after a series of five metre scrums. However that was good as it got for the home side.

DRAGONS: W Harries, T Chavhanga, A Tuilagi, A Smith, A Brew, L Robling, W Evans, P Price, S Jones, N Buck, L Charteris (cpt), R Sidoli, D Lydiate, J Groves, T Faletau. Replacements: N Williams for Price (43), L Evans for Lydiate (56) S Parry for Jones (57), J Bedford for Evans and S Jones for Robling (65).

CONNACHT: G Duffy, T O’Halloran, K Tonetti, H Fa’afili, F Vainikolo, M Nikora, F Murphy, B Wilkinson, E Reynecke, R Loughney, M Swift, M McCarthy, M Kearney, R Ofisa, J Muldoon. Replacements: E Grace for Ofsia (77m), E McKeon for Kearney (77m), A Flavin for Reynecke (80m),

Referee: G Vivarini (Italy).

Other results: Edinburgh 26 Scarlets 23, Glasgow 31 Cardiff Blues 3.

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