Blade is Connacht's hat-trick hero, points record for Carty

Connacht blew the Lions away at the Sportsground.
Blade is Connacht's hat-trick hero, points record for Carty

 Caolin Blade of Connacht scores his third try and his side's sixth try during the United Rugby Championship match between Connacht and Emirates Lions at The Sportsground in Galway. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

URC: Connacht 43 Lions 24

Hat-trick hero Caolin Blade said this was the perfect way to finish this block of games as they gave their URC knockout hopes a huge boost.

It’s the first time the scrum-half, who recently signed a three-year contract extension, scored a hat-trick as they blew the Lions away at the Sportsground.

“Our forwards laid the platform, we got a good tempo going and I suppose I just took the glory from all their hard work,” said Blade.

It was also a notable night for Jack Carty who surpassed Eric Elwood’s haul of 1,152 points to become Connacht’s all-time top scorer.

Connacht had the bonus point in the bag by the 36th minute when Carty set up Tiernan O’Halloran for their fourth try and by then the out-half had become the province’s top scorer.

That happened when he converted Blade’s opening try ten minutes earlier as he surpassed the six points needed to beat Elwood’s record.

Winger Diarmuid Kilgallen gave them a perfect start when he crossed after just three minutes and while the Lions hit back through the boot of Jordan Hendrikse and giant 138kg prop Asenathi Ntlabakanye to lead 10-8 before hooker Shane Delahunt crossed for Connacht after a penalty to the left corner.

And with Niall Murray superb up front and scrum-half Blade dictating matters, Connacht got control again to lead by 29-17 at the interval.

O’Halloran charged down a Hendrikse clearance for Blade to get his second try four minutes after the restart and the scrum-half from Galway completed his hat-trick after 62 minutes.

The Lions, completing a four-match tour to Europe, hit back for a third try 14 minutes from time when centre Marius Louw caught the home defence napping when he tapped a penalty and got over but they were unable to grab a bonus point.

Scorers: Connacht: Blade (3), Kilgallen, Delahunt, O’Halloran. Cons: Carty (5 from 6). Pen: Carty (1 from 1).

Lions: Tries: Ntlabakanye, van Wyk, Louw. Cons: Hendrikse (3 from 3). Pen: Hendrikse (1 from 1) 

CONNACHT: T O’Halloran (O McNulty 57); D Kilgallen (D Tierney-Martin 39-42), T Farrell, C Forde (T Daly 61), J Porch; J Carty (c), C Blade (K Marmion 64); P Dooley (J Duggan 61), S Delahunt (Tierney-Martin 57), J Aungier (D Robertson-McCoy 59); D Murray (L Fifita 68), N Murray; J Murphy (S Hurley-Langton 59), C Oliver (Hurley-Langton 8-17), J Butler.

LIONS: Q Horn; E van der Merwe, H van Wyk (M Rass (52), M Louw (c), S Pienaar (A Coetzee 66); J Hendrikse, A Warner (van der Berg 50); JP Smith (M Naude 57), PJ Botha (M van Vuuren 63), A Ntlabakanye (R Smith 63); W Alberts, D Landsberg (PJ van Vuren 51); S Sangweni, R Straeuli, E Tshituka (J Kriel 61).

Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand) 

More in this section

Sport Push Notifications

By clicking on 'Sign Up' you will be the first to know about our latest and best sporting content on this browser.

Sign Up

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Cookie Policy Privacy Policy FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Irish Examiner Ltd