Injury-hit Connacht secure vital victory

Connacht 25 Newcastle 10: An injury-hit Connacht maintained the lead of their European pool after securing a hard-fought victory over Newcastle Falcons at the Galway Sportsground last night.
Injury-hit Connacht secure vital victory

It was a gritty performance from the home side, which having lost 18 players to injury, suffered another setback prior to kick-off, losing fullback and captain Tiernan O’Halloran.

However the 4,346-strong crowd were rewarded with a deserved victory, carved by Connacht in the final 10 minutes when they were a man down.

Connacht outscored their opponents by three penalties to two in the opening half. They were rewarded with an early penalty, Jack Carty kicking the three-pointer from the 22 after Falcons strayed offside. He stroked over a second penalty from the 10m line.

Connacht were penalised defending their attempted rolling maul, and Falcons outhalf Craig Willis stroked over the three points after 34 minutes. Connacht were quickly back on attack, and Carty struck perfectly his 30 metre penalty from just inside the right touchline to take a 9-3 lead at the break.

Carty extended the lead to 12-3 within seven minutes of the break.

The Falcons, however, continue to piling on the pressure and they took their chance from a rolling maul. It looked like Connacht had halted their momentum, but eventually the try was scored, with Willis adding the extras to bring the visitors within two points.

Carty pushed the lead out to five on 62 minutes, having missed a kick from the same position some minutes earlier, while Catterick missed a straighforward effort on 68 minutes when Connacht’s Rory Parata was sinbinned for a deliberate knock-on.

When Carty stretched the lead the eight with a three pointer with 10 minutes remaining, it provided some much-needed breathing space with the home side down a player.

It galvanised Connacht and they took control, edging closer to the try line until Danie Poolman opted for a grubber kick some six metres out, and raced through to touch down for the winning try five minutes from the final whistle. Man of the Match Carty added the conversion.

Connacht scorers:

Tries: Poolman. Cons: Carty. Pens: Carty 6.

CONNACHT:

Healy, Adeolokun, Parata, Robb, Poolman, Carty, Blade, Bealham, Harris-Wright, White, Dillane, Muldowney, O’Brien, Connolly, Naoupu.

Replacements:

O’Leary for Healy (72), McSharry for Carty (78), O’Donnell for Bealham (74), Delahunt for Harris-Wright (54), Ah You for White (54), Heffernan for Connolly (68).

Newcastle scorers:

Tries: Mayhew. Cons: Willis. Pens: Willis.

NEWCASTLE:

Hammersley, Marshall, Penny, C. Harris, Kibirige, Willis, Takulua, Rogers, Lawson, Vea, Witty, Botha, Mayhew, Temm, Hogg.

Replacements:

Watson for Marshall (65), B. Harris for Rogers (70), Vickers for Lawson (64), Green for Botha (76).

Refreee:

Thomas Charabas (France).

European Rugby Challenge Cup, Pool 3:

Cardiff Blues 37 Montpellier 27

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