Connacht stepped up to the Pool 5 summit in the European Rugby Challenge Cup on Saturday with a fiercely contested 38-31 victory at the Stade Amedee-Domenech.

Fly-half Jack Carty was influential throughout, tallying 23 points in total, including four penalties, three conversions and a try as the Irish province moved three points clear of Worcester Warriors at the head of the Pool 5 ladder.

Lock Ultan Dillane, scrum-half Kieran Marmion and winger Cian Kelleher also scored tries in the bonus-point triumph, but Connacht were pressed hard by Brive in the Nouvelle region of France.

 

Carty opened the scoring for Connacht from the kicking tee, but when the Pro14 outfit lost No 8 John Muldoon to the sin bin, Brive capitalised, scoring two tries through Mike Tadjer and Florian Cazenave during their 10-minute numerical advantage.

Even with Connacht back to full strength, Brive continued to pull away as Julien Brugnaut crossed in a third try for the hosts, only for Dillane and Marmion to strike before half-time to leave it in the balance at 19-17 in favour of the home side at the break.
Carty put Connacht back in front with a penalty, before Tadjer regained the lead for the hosts as he completed a brace of tries.

 

 

Former Ireland Under 20 international Carty remained at the heart of the action as he raced in his own try, with a conversion to put Connacht back in front, and this time they would retain their advantage as the fly-half added two more penalty kicks either side of Kelleher’s score.

Guillaume Namy’s 71st minute try gave hope to the home crowd, but Brive fell short, although they did claim two bonus points in defeat, which could prove crucial as the race for knockout stage places heats up.

 

 

 

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