Connacht put in a brave performance where they went toe to toe with Toulouse for 60 minutes of this game, only for the home side to turn it around in the final quarter. When Conor Fitzgerald put Connacht into a three point lead from a drop goal in the 50th minute, the away side looked full value for their lead and well capable of causing an upset. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be though as it proved to be Connacht’s final score of the game.
The game got off to a flying start with both sides playing an attacking and highly entertaining brand of rugby. With 12 minutes on the clock Connacht drew first blood when Tom Farrell found a gap and broke from 35 metres out to run in under the posts.
Toulouse’s response to the converted try was swift – as they had their first try on the board within two minutes of the Fitzgerald conversion. They added a further three points from a penalty and with 20 minutes on the clock.
Then with ten minutes to go before the break, Connacht were down to 14 men when Colby Fainga’a was shown a yellow card. Within six minutes Toulouse exerted their numerical advantage and scored a try in the corner which they failed to convert. This meant there was just the minimum between them at the break Toulouse leading 15 – 14.
It was Connacht who opened brightest in the second half and their dominance was rewarded when Fitzgerald found the gap and landed an outstanding drop goal in the now driving train.
Toulouse to their credit responded and the French Champions dragged themselves back into the game. Firstly on 64 minutes Jerome Kaino drove over after some outstanding Connacht defence. Then as the time was running out both sides went looking for a bonus point. Connacht tried to get within 7 and Toulouse looked for a fourth try. Ultimately it was Toulouse’s day as former Connacht player Pita Ahki scored with the clock two minutes in the red.
So, a disappointing day for Connacht but still many positives to take away. Connacht’s fate will now be decided by the back to back games against Gloucester.
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Connacht: Matt Healy, John Porch, Tom Farrell (Jack Carty), Tom Daly (Peter Robb), Kyle Godwin, Conor Fitzgerald, Caolin Blade (Angus Lloyd) Pete McCabe (Matthew Burke), Dave Heffernan (Shane Delahunt), Dominic Robertson-McCoy (Finlay Bealham), Ultan Dillane (Joe Maksymiw), Quinn Roux, Eoghan Masterson, Colby Fainga’a, Robin Copeland (Paul Boyle).