Connacht Rugby retained top spot of pool 1 in the Challenge Cup with a 25 – 10 win over Newcastle Falcons tonight.

Man of the Match Jack Carty kicked 20 points (6/7 penalties and 1 conversion) while wing Danie Poolman danced through for a 74th min try, while the home side were down to 14 men following the sin binning of centre Rory Parata.

Captain Tiernan O’Halloran was a late withdrawal and the 19th addition to Connacht’s European casualty list when he pulled up with a calf muscle strain. Aly Muldowney was appointed skipper while try scorer Poolman was promoted to the win to shift Matt Healy into his cameo appearance at fullback.

Carty was 100% from the kicking tee in the opening half with three from three while his opposite number Craig Willis got his side on the board after 34 minutes.

Half time: Connacht 9 – 3 Newcastle Falcons

It was a close affair after the break as Carty stretched the lead to nine points, before Willis missed the chance to claw it back to six. The try-scoring deadlock was finally broken by the visitors after 56 minutes. The Falcons threw to the front of a close-range line-out and their captain Richard Mayhew drove over. Willis landed the touchline conversion to cut the gap to 12-10.

Carty missed his only attempt of the night on the hour mark but made no mistake with the next two to extend the lead to 18 – 10 – the latter coming after Parata’s sin binning.

An attacking scrum on the 73rd minute just outside the visitors’ 22 gave Lam’s men the chance they needed to crash the ball up and it was Poolman who cut open the defence to touch down for the late score.

Carty added the extras as the clock hit red and Connacht’s home record was kept intact.

Full time: Connacht 25 – 10 Newcastle Falcons

Referee: Thomas Charabas (France)

Attendance: 4346

Man of the Match: Jack Carty 

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