Connacht eyeing the play-offs to qualify for Europe's top table

Glasgow Warriors 35 - Connacht 24: This time last year Connacht fans were holding their breath in anticipation. Sitting pretty at the top of the table, having only lost five times all season, Connacht were working their way to a first Guinness PRO12 trophy and Champions Cup rugby.

Connacht eyeing the play-offs to qualify for Europe's top table

Twelve months later there is only the comforting salve of a possible play-off against the French or English to qualify again for Europe’s top table.

“All we have to do is keep playing and get all the points we can,” Pat Lam says.

“There is still five rounds for us (as Connacht have an outstanding game against Zebre), four for everyone else, and we will see where we are on the last weekend. There is a big gap between ourselves and Cardiff and the rest, so no doubt the play-offs are our target.”

Despite a one-sided opening half, Connacht found themselves ahead by at half-time, 15-13, after opening with a from Niyi Adeolokun created by Tiernan O’Halloran’s injection of pace. Glasgow soaked up the pressure with aggressive defending and lived off Connacht mistakes, adding a Finn Russell penalty before hooker Cory Flynn charged over from Stuart Hogg’s chip and chase.

Connacht, however, were back on the front foot when Ronaldson added a penalty and a conversion to captain John Muldoon’s 30th-minute try, but after Russell and Ronaldson exchanged penalties either side of the break, Glasgow grabbed control.

Horne set up Russell for a converted try, before their international replacements turned the screw in the scrum for Ali Price to dart over.

Ronaldson reduced the arrears to six after Glasgow’s Tim Swinson was red carded for a swinging arm, but it was not enough when the hosts added a fourth try through Sean Lamont.

GLASGOW WARRIORS:

S Hogg, S Lamont, N Grigg, P Horne(cpt), R Hughes, F Russell, A Price, A Allan, C Flynn, S Puafisi T Swinson, B Alainu’uese, R Harley, M Smith, A Ashe.

Replacements:

F Brown for Flynn, G Reid for Allen, D Rae for Puafisi, and L Wynn for Smith (all 52m), A Dunbar for Russell (55m), G Horne for Price (65m), P Murchie for Hogg and S Cummings for Ashe and G Horne for Price (66).

CONNACHT:

T O’Halloran, N Adeolokun, B Aki, C Ronaldson, S Ili, J Carty, K Marmion, D Buckley, T McCartney, F Bealham, Q Roux, A Browne, S O’Brien, J Heenan, J Muldoon.

Replacements:

D Heffernan for McCartney (52m), D Robertson-McCoy for Bealham (63m), J Cooney for Marmion (55m), N Dawai for O’Brien (61m), T Farrell for Ronaldson (65m), R Loughney for Buckley and J Cannon for Roux (both 68m), J Rowland for Adeolokun (79m).

Referee:

I Davies (WRU).

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