Connacht make winning start to Challenge Cup campaign with Bordeaux victory

13 October 2018

Connacht make winning start to Challenge Cup campaign with Bordeaux victory
Two tries from European debutant Kyle Godwin ensured Connacht got their European Challenge Cup campaign off to a winning start with victory over Bordeaux-Beglés.

In awful conditions at The Sportsground, Andy Friend's side grounded out a 22-10 victory with glimpses of impressive performances but also plenty to work on ahead of next week's trip to Sale.

The first of Godwin's tries arrived just after the 10 minute mark when Peter McCabe found himself in plenty of room to power his way just short of the Bordeaux try line after an excellent pass from Jack Carty. With the French side's defence stretched, the Australian winger was the first to arrive at the ruck and he touched down for the 5-0 lead, with Carty adding two more.

The remainder of the half saw both sides struggle to get any decent spell of momentum due to the trying weather. A penalty from Carty after 23 minutes extended Connacht's lead to 10 points, while their defence was also heavily worked as Bordeaux tried to power their way across the Connacht try line. With the clock passed the 40, they eventually settled for a kick at the posts to bring the score to 10-3 at the break.

Whatever message was given to the Connacht players at the break appeared to work in spades as they came roaring out of the traps in the second half. A deserved second try was to follow and again it was Godwin who found himself in a good position - arriving at the end of a wonderfully looping play with Carty again the architect. His resulting conversion stretched the lead to 14 points, but it was the next 20 minutes when Bordeaux played their way into their best spell of the game. Their replacement front row had an impact as they powered over for their first try of the game, moments after Robin Copeland was sent to the sin-bin. Suddenly there was a converted try in it with 15 v 14 for the next 10 minutes, but Connacht were able to dig deep defensively when needed.

The victory was effectively secured on the 67th minute mark when a five metre lineout and resulting rolling maul saw the pack power their way over the line with Finlay Bealham the man with his hands on the ball. The rest of the game was a case of seeing it out which they did and, even though no bonus point try followed, it's 4 points on the board with five more pool games to follow.