Guinness PRO14: Connacht 23 - Cheetahs 15: Tiernan O’Halloran has no qualms about being left out of the Irish squad for the autumn internationals, but the 26-year-old will be keeping a bag packed over the next few weeks in case there is a call from Joe Schmidt.
The Connemara man admitted: “This year has just been very disruptive. I got a hip pointer injury and then I was back for a game and I would drop out after five or 10 minutes. What I am trying to do this year is get back playing 80 minutes.”
Niyi Adeolokun produced the moment of class in the opening half of this Guinness PRO14 clash with the Cheetahs when he went outside Luther Obi down the left to score beside the posts. Craig Ronaldson, who had earlier got them off the mark with a penalty, converted to make it 10-0 after 13 minutes. They led 13-3 at the break, with the Cheetahs not helping their cause by constantly conceding penalties when they brought the ball into contact, but Connacht didn’t make the game safe until Tom McCartney bulldozed over after 49 minutes to lead by 20-3.
The Cheetahs hit back with tries from Shaun Venter and one from the in-form Makazola Mapimpi to ensure a nervy finish.
Scorers for Connacht:
Tries: N Adeolokun, T McCartney; Conversions: C Ronaldson, J Carty; Penalties: C Ronaldson (2), S Crosbie.
Scorers for Cheetahs:
Tries: S Venter, M Mapimpi; Conversion: F Zeilinga; Penalty: Ernst Stapelberg.
T O’Halloran; D Leader, T Farrell, C Ronaldson, N Adeolokun; J Carty, C Blade; D Buckley, T McCartney, F Bealham; Q Roux, J Cannon; E Masterson, E McKeon, J Muldoon.
N Dawai for E McKeon (37), M Healy for Ronaldson (40), S Crosbie for Carty (53), D Heffernan for McCartney (53), D Coulson for Buckley (58), G Thornbury for Roux (61), C Carey for Cannon (65), C McKeon for Blade (69).
F Zeilinga; L Obi, T Kruger, N Lee, M Mapimpi; E Stapelberg, T Meyer; O Nche, T Van Jaarsveld, J Coetzee; C Wegner, R Hugo; P Schoeman, J Wiese, J Pokomela.
R Bernardo for Schoeman (28-38), S Venter for Stapelberg (56), A Mgijima for Kruger (61), Bernardo for Wiese (61), C Marais for Nche (61), T Botha for Coetzee (65), D Visser for Wegner (75).
Frank Murphy (IRFU)
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