Courageous Connacht stay top despite scare

Edinburgh 23 Connacht 28: Connacht survived a huge examination from Edinburgh in Murrayfield last evening to stay top of the Guinness Pro 12 with their fifth win on the trot.

Courageous Connacht stay top despite scare

It was a huge result for Pat Lam’s men who have now secured 24 points from a possible 25 in their last five games, as they continue to hunt down Champions League rugby.

Connacht were unable to make dominance count on the scoreboard until the 21st minute, when AJ MacGinty ran a good line to crash over from five metres out. Craig Ronaldson added the extras.

Then Jake Heenan touched down and Ronaldson extending the lead to 14-0 after 34 minutes.

On the resumption Edinburgh’s Chris Dean touched down out wide.

Connacht’s reply was swift with Poolman setting up play inside the Ediburgh 22, and Bundee Aki taking advantage of a break in momentum to skip through a bemused cover and bag Connacht’s third try which Ronaldson converted.

However the home side turned the game on its head in the next 10 minutes, with some fluid counter-attacking. Growing in confidence, Edinburgh opted for touch with a penalty, and although the pack made no headway, Kingholm sent the ball out wide to Hoyland who crossed for their second try, and Hildago Clyne successfully added the extras.

The TMO awarded Edinburgh a third try when Cornell Du Preez crossed in the corner despite the best effort of Marmion, reducing the deficit to 17-21 after 62 minutes.

Edinburgh added a penalty to leave just a single point between the sides.

Pat Lam’s side, however, showed their credentials in the final 10 minutes. A superb break from O’Halloran provided them with a rare opportunity, and after replacement Caolin Blade and Muldowney edged them closer to the line, replacement No 8 Eoin McKeon picked for the base of a scrum and powered over. MacGintyadded the conversion for a fourth try bonus point and a 28-20 lead.

In injury time, Hidalgo Clyne stroked over a penalty to rescue a deserved bonus point for Alan Solomen’s side.

Scorers for Edinburgh:

Tries: Dean, Hoyland, Du Preez. Cons: Hidalgo-Clyne. Pens: Hidalgo-Clyne 2.

EDINBURGH:

Kinghorn, Hoyland, Dean, Scott, Brown, Burleigh, Hidalgo-Clyne, Sutherland, Cochrane, Andress, Bresler, B. Toolis, Ritchie, Watson, Du Preez.

Replacements:

Beard for Scott (23), Dell for Sutherland (48), Berghan for Andress (41), A. Toolis for Bresler (67). Scorers for Connacht: Tries: MacGinty, Heenan, Aki, McKeon. Cons: Ronaldson 3, MacGinty.

CONNACHT:

O’Halloran, Poolman, Aki, Ronaldson, Healy, MacGinty, Marmion, Buckley, McCartney, White, Roux, Muldowney, O’Brien, Heenan, Muldoon, Ah You.

Replacements:

Blade for Marmion (61), Heffernan for McCartney (74), Ah You for White (41), Qualter for Roux (60), McKeon for O’Brien (68), Bealham for Ah You (67).

Ref:

Ben Whitehouse (Wales).

GuinnessPRO12:

Scarlets 24 Benetton Treviso 15

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