Edinburgh Rugby stretched their lead at the top of Guinness PRO14 Conference B after defeating Connacht 41-14 at BT Murrayfield.

In a hard-fought and physically-draining contest it was Richard Cockerill’s men who prevailed, claiming a bonus-point success to tighten their grip at the top of the conference.

Connacht were hindered early on when a serious-looking injury to Finlay Bealham halted proceedings, with the prop replaced by Dominic Robertson-McCoy after only four minutes.

A pair of long-range kicks from Simon Hickey gave Edinburgh an early lead, before the hosts were awarded a penalty try after a solo break by Matt Scott which ended with Jack Carty frustratingly being sent to the sin bin.

From there Edinburgh took advantage of the extra man when Simon Berghan scored from short range to extend their lead.

However, Connacht’s relentless phase-play was awarded when Tiernan O’Halloran powered over on the stroke of half-time to reduce the deficit for the visitors.

When play got back under way, O’Halloran used his strength once again to good use as he registered both his and Connacht’s second try with a pick-and-go underneath the sticks.

With Connacht beginning to look more threatening Edinburgh hit back through prop Pierre Schoeman’s score, before Duhan van der Merwe claimed the all-important bonus-point try for the Scottish club.

A flurry of yellow cards towards the end to Edinburgh’s Eroni Sau and Nick Haining and Connacht’s Eoghan Masterson and Conor Fitzgerald ensured a frenetic finish with Cockerill’s men closing the game out with their second penalty try.

For Connacht a tricky assignment away to the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth awaits before the next home game against Scarlets on the 20th of March – Tickets available here.

Connacht Scorers:

Tries – Tiernan O’Halloran (2)

Conversions – Jack Carty (2)

(15-9): Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Kyle Godwin, Peter Robb (Tom Daly), John Porch, Jack Carty (Conor Fitzgerald), Kieran Marmion (Caolin Blade) (1-8): Denis Buckley (Paddy McAllister), Shane Delahunt (Jonny Murphy), Finlay Bealham (Dominic Robertson McCoy), Niall Murray (Eoghan Masterson), Joe Maksymiw, Paul Boyle (Eoin McKeon), Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (Capt).

 

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