Connacht 11 – 7 Edinburgh

Connacht made it two home wins in a row and lifted themselves off the bottom of the table with an 11 – 7 win over Edinburgh this evening. It was the first home game in five weeks and Connacht supporters were treated to a dry afternoon in Galway after a week of heavy rain.

A 7th minute converted try from the visitors through flanker Ryan Grant gave the Scottish side an early lead. In what was a low-scoring game, Michael Swift was the Connacht second half try scorer while both Craig Ronaldson and replacement outhalf Dan Parks kicked a penalty in each half.

Connacht’s set piece was dominant throughout but despite turning over an Edinburgh scrum early on, their hard work was undone when the turnover was reversed and a Nick de Luca break through the defence allowed Edinburgh to score in the corner through Grant.

Carl Bezuidenhout, making his first start for Edinburgh, added the extras to put Edinburgh 7-0 up on 10 minutes.

Connacht made strides into the opposition 22 but got no reward for their efforts. Finally, on 20 minutes, they stole a penalty from an Edinburgh scrum, which Ronaldson duly converted from in front of the posts.

Edinburgh were repeatedly penalised for not rolling away, and also for interfering at the back of a Connacht lineout. While striking them well, Ronaldson was unlucky to miss three successive penalties – two wide and one hitting the post – that could have brought his side ahead before the break.

Half time: Connacht 3 – 7 Edinburgh

Facing the wind in the second half, Connacht maintained the pressure and won a penalty almost immediately after the restart. This time, Ronaldson opted for touch. From the resulting lineout, centre Eoin Griffin made a line break up to the 22. The onrushing Fionn Carr, on his 90th Connacht appearance, took the pass but the Edinburgh defence put a stop to proceedings, turning over the ball.

Following a warning from referee Claudio Blessano to the Edinburgh captain, number 8 Cornell du Preez was the man punished for repeated infringments and sent to the bin on 45 minutes.

Connacht made the most of their one-man advantage and following a series of pick and drives, it was the province’s highest capped player who barged over for the five points. Ronaldson’s missed conversion meant it was just a one-point lead for the hosts.

Edinburgh had a chance to reclaim the lead but Bezuidenhout’s 50th minute penalty attempt went wide.

Replacement outhalf Parks put four points between the sides, slotting over a penalty on 68 minutes.

The home support erupted with a rendition of the Fields of Athenry which helped Connacht hold on to that lead and prevent Edinburgh from pulling off any form of a late comeback.

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