Connacht man Jack Carty snatched a dramatic 20-18 victory over Wasps with the final kick of the game in round 4 of the Champions Cup played in front of a sold out Sportsground.
 

The victory may have looked unlikely after Wasps’ wing Josh Bassett’s late score had given the visitors a five-point lead in the closing moments. But on his Connacht debut, Naulia Dawai was shunted over the try-line from a late lineout maul to level the scores, before Carty landed the conversion from the out-wide to seal the triumph.

Wasps scrumhalf Joe Simpson had given the English side an early lead, but that was reined in by Danie Poolman’s score and the boot of Jack Carty. Connacht have moved level at the top of Pool 2 after tonight’s win.

Carty fired Connacht ahead with his second penalty attempt after Wasps held-on at a ruck. But it did not take long for last season’s semi-finalists to hit the front. Thomas Young made the initial break in midfield before finding his back-row colleague Nathan Hughes. He charged towards the line but was stopped short by Kieran Marmion, but Simpson scooped up the ball to score.

Jimmy Gopperth landed the conversion to make it 7-3 before Connacht full-back Tiernan O’Halloran was sent to the sin-bin following a build-up of penalties close to their try-line. But Bundee Aki latched onto Matt Healy’s offload to charge 50 metres downfield and put his side on the front-foot.

Ultan Dillane knocked on after a spell of heavy pressure, but referee Jerome Garces brought it back for a penalty, which Carty kicked to pull Connacht back within a point. And it got even better for the hosts on the stroke of half-time. Carty took the ball at first receiver and picked out replacement wing Poolman with a perfectly weighted cross-kick to score. The outside-half then landed the touchline conversion to give his side a 13-7 half-time lead.

Gopperth cut the gap to three points with a penalty 15 minutes into the second period, but missed the chance to level the scores on the hour mark. He made no mistake from right in-front of the posts moments later though to make it 13-13.

And Wasps showed their title credentials six minutes from time. Their powerful pack shunted Connacht off their own ball before Dan Robson picked up the ball and found Bassett with a perfectly weighted cut-out pass, and the wing finished well. But Connacht showed their fighting spirit to drive Dawai over the line to level the scores. And Carty stepped up to dramatically snatch a 20-18 victory at the death.

Full time: Connacht 20 – 18 Wasps
Referee: Jerome Garces
Attendance: 8090 (Sold Out)
Man of the Match: Bundee Aki

CONNACHT: Tiernan O’Halloran (yellow card ’25); Niyi Adeolokun,  Rory Parata,  Bundee Aki,  Matt Healy (blood bin – Danie Poolman ’31 to ’40); Jack Carty,  Kieran Marmion (Caolin Blade ’74); Denis Buckley,  Tom McCartney (Dave Heffernan ’64),  Finlay Bealham (Conor Carey ’62 – reversal ’70); Ultan Dillane,  Quinn Roux (Lewis Stevenson ’72); Eoin McKeon (Sean O’Brien ’54),  Nepia Fox-Matamua (Naulia Dawai ’74),  John Muldoon (captain).

Replacements not used: JP Cooney.

WASPS: Rob Miller; Christian Wade,  Brendan Macken (Alapati Leiua ’66),  Kurtley Beale (Frank Halai ’75),  Josh Bassett; Jimmy Gopperth,  Joe Simpson (Dan Robson ’54); Matt Mullan,  Tommy Taylor,  Jake Cooper-Woolley (Marty Moore ’59); Joe Launchbury (captain),  Kearnan Myall; Ashley Johnson (Alex Rieder ’72),  Thomas Young,  Nathan Hughes (Guy Thompson ’64).

Replacements not used: Tom Bristow,  James Gaskell.

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