Pat Lam’s men put in a clinical performance at the Sportsground today to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup with a 47-5 triumph over Enisei-STM.

With eight tries, Connacht finished the pool stages top of pool 1, thanks to Newcastle Falcons’ win over Brive.

Tiernan O’Halloran, Matt Healy, Denis Buckley and Danie Poolman scored tries to secure the five match points by half-time. And the job was completed after the break thanks to scores from Robbie Henshaw, Tom McCartney, a second try from Healy and Caolin Blade.

It took 11 minutes for the home side to break their Russian opponents down, but the breakthrough finally came after 11 minutes, when AJ MacGinty fired them in-front with a penalty. Jurijs Baranovs’ yellow card after 14 minutes proved to be a turning point as Connacht made the most of their man advantage.

O’Halloran was the first to go over after the ball was worked wide following a scrum in the Russian 22. Healy scored Connacht’s second against the 14-men of Enisei, and McGinty on target with the conversion to make it 15-0.

After some free-flowing rugby, the third try came from pure power. The pack drove a lineout from close-range, and Buckley was at the bottom of the pile to touch down. And the bonus-point was wrapped up before half-time. Robbie Henshaw found Poolman with a well-weighted pass for the wing to stroll over.

Half time: Connacht 25 – 0 Enisei-STM

It took less than a minute for Ireland international Henshaw to go over for a try of his own after the break. But Enisei didn’t give up, showing their mettle to pull five points back though bruising flanker Vitalii Orlov after 45 minutes. Outhalf Yury Kushnarev sent the conversion wide.

Moments later and after less than a minute on the pitch, McCartney put Connacht back on the front-foot when a well-worked lineout move saw the replacement hooker dive over for a score of his own.

Healy cruised over in the corner to complete his brace and to put Connacht 40 – 5 up on the hour mark.

Blade completed the rout, wriggling his way over from close range to score on the 79th minute and Carty converted to finish the game 47- 5.

Full time: Connacht 47 – 5 Enisei-STM

Referee: Tom Foley (Eng)

Attendance: 4261

Man of the Match: Kieran Marmion


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