Connacht 32-10 Southern Kings

Connacht produced a solid display to clinch a first Guinness PRO14 victory of the season with a bonus point on Saturday night at the Sportsground.

First-half tries from Tom Farrell, replacement Eoghan Masterson and Ultan Dillane gave Connacht a commanding 24-5 lead at the interval. Darragh Leader clinched the victory with the bonus point try on 70 minutes.

Jack Carty continued his outstanding form off the tee with from five from five to keep his 100% record going having landed all four of his kicks against Glasgow.

The occasion was an extra special one as the All Ireland winning Galway hurlers and the Liam McCarthy Cup were presented to a very appreciative crowd at the interval.

Connacht made a strong start and were given an early helping hand as Sibusiso Sithole was yellow-carded for dangerous play on 10 minutes.

Connacht clinically made the advantage count on 15 minutes with the rolling maul providing the platform as Leader was stopped just short on the right wing before Farrell weaved his way over from close range to dot down under the posts. Carty added the extras for a 7-0 lead.

The hosts remained in control with the forwards excellent in the set-piece and stretched their lead to 10 after 26 minutes as Carty slotted his first penalty.

That score seemed to spark the Kings into life and they deservedly hit back with their first try on 32 minutes. The South African pack pummelled away on the right wing before swinging it to the opposite flank and Berton Klaasen stretched to touch down despite the best efforts of Tiernan O’Halloran.

A brilliant end to the half saw Connacht streak clear as Kieran Marmion did superbly to pop inside for Masterson, who had replaced the injured Sean O’Brien, to dive over.

The groundwork had once again been done by the forwards and the pack were to the fore again before the break as Dillane barged over from close range for a third Connacht try.

Carty was on target with both conversions and the 24-5 cushion at the interval set the hosts up nicely for the second half.

With the crowd in fine voice, Connacht kept the foot on the pedal after the break with Carty making it eight successful place-kicks from eight for the season with his second penalty on 46 minutes.

27-5 ahead, Connacht never looked like losing the game from there and they withstood a decent period of Kings pressure when Finlay Bealham went into the bin midway through the half.

The bonus point was wrapped up on 70 minutes when the impressive Leader touched down in the right corner after a superb floating pass from replacement out-half Steve Crosbie.

Crosbie missed the touchline conversion and Luvuyo Pupuma scored a late consolation try for the Southern Kings but Connacht secured the five points on a memorable night at the Sportsground.

After an impressive night’s work, Bundee Aki was awarded the Man of the Match award with new signing Denis Coulson making his debut off the bench.

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