Ospreys kept their unbeaten record in the PRO12 intact this evening with a 26 – 11 win at Liberty Stadium.

It was all level at 3 – 3 come the half time whistle with Connacht’s stout defence holding out the hosts on four visits to the 22. But Pat Lam’s men were hit after the break when wing Jeff Hassler broke free to score the opening try of the game. With momentum gained, they crossed again on the hour mark, this time through scrum half Martin Roberts, while 21-year-old outhalf Sam Davies kicked 16 points.

Inside centre Craig Ronaldson had a difficult night from the tee, with only two from six attempts converted. It was Galway-born Eoin McKeon who got in for a late score on 77 minutes when Connacht started to look a lot better in attack. But the fight back came too late in the game and Connacht left empty-handed as the province face into a two-week break in games before round 8 at home to Zebre on November 21st.

Two minutes after the kick off and referee John Lacey penalised full back Shane Layden for a deliberate knock on but Davies first shot at goal fell short. The young outhalf had a chance to reconcile though just almost immediately and this time, a bit closer, he knocked the penalty kick over to give his side an early lead.

Two of Connacht’s lineouts were uncharacteristically stolen inside the opening quarter and only an excellent covering tackle from Denis Buckley prevented an opening try after wing Tom Grabham broke clear on 14 minutes.

When Ospreys were penalised for holding on, it was Ronaldson who kicked us to touch but the resulting lineout throw was deemed crooked. The Connacht pack showed their dominance, however, to overturn an Ospreys scrum 30 metres from the hosts’ line. Ronaldson’s attempt to level the scores was wide to the left of the posts.

A stop-start opening half continued with plenty of penalties against each side and Davies missed a second penalty of the evening after 33 minutes before mis-firing a kick from hands straight into touch from just inside the Ospreys half.

Connacht then crashed their way up towards the opposition 22 and when the hosts were caught off their feet 35 metres out, Ronaldson levelled the scores going into the break.

Half time: Ospreys 3 – 3 Connacht

While Ronaldson sent an early second-half penalty short and wide from the halfway line, he made amends on 47 minutes to take the lead after a powerful Connacht shove overturned the Ospreys scrum.

That three-point lead did not last long however as a system error in defence allowed fullback Dan Evans to tear free and offload to Hassler who scored in the corner. Davies added the conversion from the touchline.

Connacht were forced to scramble back and defend after a loose ball was chipped down to our 22. Penalised at the breakdown, Davies was able to send a simple penalty through the posts. He added another two minutes later on the back of an Ospreys scrum.

Ospreys were caught for not rolling away on the hour mark but Ronaldson curled the penalty wide. On his introduction from the bench, Ashley Beck was immediately involved in his side’s second try, picking a gap before finding Roberts to snipe over the line, Davies once again converting.

Davies added another penalty to extend the lead to 20 after 60 minutes. But Connacht responded with a barrage of phases deep in the Ospreys 22 as they searched for a consolation score.

A lineout drive finally got through the hosts’ defence three minutes from time with McKeon piling over for the try.  But Ronaldson’s conversion hit the post and bounced clear.

Ospreys had a man sent to the bin in the closing stages but despite the one man advantage, the Connacht ball was turned over in the hosts 22 as the full time whistle went.

Full time: Ospreys 26 – 11 Connacht

CONNACHT: S Layden; N Adeolokun, B Aki, C Ronaldson, M Healy, ; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, J Harris-Wright, R Ah You; M Kearney, Q Roux; J Muldoon (cpt), E McKeon, G Naoupu.

Replacements: D Leader for Adeolokun (15 mins), A Browne for Roux (57 mins), JP Cooney for Ah You (64 mins), D Heffernan for Harris-Wright and D McSharry for Aki (both 67 mins), I Porter for Marmion, W Faloon for McKeon ( both 72 mins), McKeon for Naoupu (74 mins), J Dever for Buckley (78 mins).

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)

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