Connacht made it two wins from two in the GUINNESS PRO12 with a one-point win over Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield tonight.

Connacht were trailing for most of the game until flanker Willie Faloon got over for a 75th minute try and the visitors took the lead for the first time in the game. Fullback Darragh Leader kicked three penalties from five attempts.

Edinburgh drew first blood with a successful penalty kick from their outhalf Tom Heathcote after three minutes.

Two minutes later, the hosts were pinged for failing to roll away and Leader had a chance to level the scores but sent the ball wide to the right of the uprights.

A forced knock on from Connacht handed the hosts another shot at the posts and Heathcote made no mistake from just inside the 10m line to extend his side’s lead to 6 – 0 on ten minutes.

Edinburgh threatened the team’s defence on entering the opposition 22 for the first time on 15 minutes but Connacht scrambled back just in time to drag winger Sam Beard into touch.

Penalised for not releasing the ball, Leader had another chance for points on the board but missed with his second effort going wide again. His opportunity for redemption came moments later when Edinburgh were pinged – again for not releasing – and this time the 21-year-old from Galway knocked over the penalty from in front of the posts to reduce the deficit.

Connacht had their first put in at the scrum on 25 minutes and Denis Buckley, on his 50th Connacht appearance, continued to dominate up front winning a penalty for the visitors.

While Connacht kept up the pressure to create chances, they were unable to capitalise until four minutes before the break when a collapsed scrum from Edinburgh allowed Leader to level the scores with a penalty kick.

Edinburgh seemed to up their intensity just before half time to get into the Connacht 22 where they built phase after phase and tested the defence of the visitors. Caught for numbers out wide, Man of the Match Cornell Du Preez was able to steal over in the corner for the first try of the game, which Heathcote converted.

Half time: Edinburgh 13 – 6 Connacht

Sean Henry was the only change at half time, the Sligo man replacing Dave Heffernan at hooker. Henry threw into the lineout and Connacht started to spread the ball wide but were penalised for a side entry and Heathcote had the first chance for points. But the outhalf missed from the 10m line.

Edinburgh’s replacement prop WP Nel was sent to the bin for an infringement at the scrum and Leader was on target with the penalty kick to reduce the gap to just four points on 55 minutes.

Connacht saw their own yellow card not long after when Faloon was penalised for ‘stamping at a ruck’ with just 16 minutes on the clock but Edinburgh failed to take anything from the one-man advantage with Du Preez denied a try after being held up.

Trailing four points and with just five minutes remaining, Connacht win a penalty, and seeing Faloon return to the pitch, Carty opted to kick for the corner. From the resulting lineout, an effective maul was set up to drive over the line and allow the openside to ground the ball. Carty missed the conversion but Connacht held out to secure the win away from home.

Speaking after the game,  Pat Lam said:

“Again, we’re pleased with the win but very frustrated with handling errors, dropped balls and lack of execution. It’s quite a sombre dressing room. We made a lot of mistakes but thankfully we kept the pressure on to grind out the win.

“It’s back to work on Monday for a massive week ahead of the game against Leinster.”

Edinburgh : J Cuthbert; S Beard, P Burleigh, A Strauss, N McLennan; T Heathcote, S Kennedy; A Dickinson, R Ford, J Andress, F McKenzie, O Atkins, T Leonardi, H Watson, C du Preez

Replacements: J Hilterbrand for Ford 65, WP Nel for Andress 40 , A Bresler for McKenzie 52, M Coman for Leonardi 60, S Hidalgo-Clyne for Kennedy 52, J Dominguez for Cuthbert 55

Connacht: D Leader; N Adeolokun, R Henshaw, D McSharry, D Poolman; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, D Heffernan, N White, M Kearney, Q Roux, J Muldoon, W Faloon, E McKeon

Replacements: S Henry for Heffernan 40, R Ah You for White 73, A Muldowney for Kearney 57, G Naoupu for Muldoon 53, C Ronaldson for Leader 64, F Carr for Poolman 53.

Referee: G Conway (IRFU)

Man of the Match: Cornell Du Preez

Attendance: 3, 777


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