Another away performance not to be for Connacht after defeat in Stellenbosch to DHL Stormers.

The defending champions of the the United Rugby Championship took advantage of Connacht going down to 14 men after Bundee Aki’s getting sent off for a dangerous clear-out, the sending off coming midway through the second half after Tom Farrell touching down before going to the TMO.

Farrell’s try would have brought Connacht to within a score of the champions but the sending off extinguished any hope of a fight back.

It was a sore defeat for Connacht to take but one of the big concerns for Andy Friend and his coaching staff is the ankle injury picked up by scrum-half Caolin Blade. Blade is named to go on Emerging Ireland tour of South Africa in the coming weeks.

Stormers back row, Evan Roos opened the scoring for the South African side. Dylan Tierney-Martin got Connacht back into the game with a try before half-time which had the score 13-8 in the home sides favour.

Through the boot of Manie Libbok, Stormers had stretched their lead out to 19-8 when Aki was shown red. Quickfire tries by Andre-Hugo Venter and Hacjivah Dayimani wrapped up the result for Stormers against the 14-men of Connacht before Marcel Theunissen earned the hosts a four-try bonus point in second-half stoppage time.

Cluiche 2 ar an Satharn i Staid Danie Craven

It’s round 2 of the BKT United Rugby Championship with another hugely exciting trip as we travel to South Africa to take on champions DHL Stormers.

Here’s everything you need to know about this weekend.

When’s the game?

Kick-off at Danie Craven Stadium is at 1.35pm Irish time on Saturday 24th September.

What’s the state of play so far?

Connacht lost to Ulster 36-10 in the opening round at Kingspan Stadium.

This will be the first game of the new season for the DHL Stormers.

How’s our recent record against them?

Last season was our first meeting against the DHL Stormers where we won 19-17 at The Sportsground back in February.

How will the two teams line up?

The Connacht management team will announce their squad at 12pm on Friday when it will be named on connachtrugby.ie and the Connacht Rugby social channels.

How do I get tickets?

Tickets are available through DHL Stormers.

What channel is it on?

RTE and Premier Sports will have live TV coverage while Galway Bay FM have live radio commentary.

Connacht 19

Stormers 17 

 

By John O’Sullivan 

 

Connacht defeated the DHL Stormers in a physical encounter at the Sportsground in the United Rugby Championship today. 

 

Tries from Paul Boyle, Tom Daly and Peter Sullivan, as well as two conversions from the boot of Conor Fitzgerald sealed the win in front of a raucous home crowd. 

 

The visitors, through Sergeal Petersen, Manie Libbok and Damian Willemse, notched three tries of their own but it was the home team – through a mix of grit and skill – who deservedly took the victory.

 

Connacht, with Boyle and Cian Prendergast prominent in the ball-carrying stakes, were the aggressors early on but the visitors’ defence held firm in a scoreless opening ten minutes in a blustery Sportsground. 

 

The game featured regular set pieces in the opening half of the first period and Connacht – with their front row of Tietie Tuimauga, Shane Delahunt, and Denis Buckley also impressing in the loose – were more than a match for the South Africans whose pack featured Springbok internationals. 

 

The visitors grew more into the contest as we approached the mid part of the first half and they made it count when Petersen dove over for an unconverted try to open the scoring for the afternoon. 

 

Connacht, though, didn’t panic and they registered their first score of the afternoon after the half-hour mark. Electing to take a quick tap penalty close to the away team’s try line, the hosts kept the ball with their forwards and, after multiple phases, Boyle muscled his way over. Fitzgerald added the extras and the home team took the lead, much to the delight of their vocal supporters. 

 

The visitors recovered just in time to take the lead going into the break. A looping garryowen, which was caught in the wind, caused confusion in the home defence and Willemse benefitted by touching down after a hack through. The conversion was wide and the away team went into the interval leading 10-7.

 

The Stormers started the second half in a similar fashion and, after a fortunate bounce from a Connacht knock-on, they scored their third try when the ball fell sweetly for Libbok to run in. He added the conversion and the away team were 17-7 to the good. 

 

A raft of changes brought new impetus to Connacht and they worked their way back into proceedings near the hour mark. After try scorer Petersen was yellow carded for an intentional knock-on borne out of pressure the home team, Connacht worked their man advantage brilliantly. 

 

Replacement Caolin Blade made a searing break, which fellow sub Conor Oliver continued with a big carry. Oliver then brilliantly offloaded to Fitzgerald, whose line was clever. The out-half then carried close to the line before offloading to Daly to touch down. It was a beautiful try and it exhibited Connacht at their best. The conversion was added by conversion and the deficit was cut to three points, 17-14.

Connacht had the momentum behind them and, with the Stormers being reduced to fourteen men again – this time for a high tackle – they seized the initiative.

 

A sweeping move saw the ball worked left and Wootton brilliantly offloaded to Sullivan – who had replaced Fitzgerald, who was on the receiving end of the Stormers yellow card tackle, after initially going off – to touch down in the corner. The try gave Connacht a slender lead at 19-17 and it’s one they held to claim a big win. 

 

Connacht team:

 

(15-9)

 

15: John Porch 

14: Peter Sullivan(Tom Farrell)

13: Sammy Arnold 

12: Tom Daly 

11: Alex Wootton 

10: Conor Fitzgerald (Peter Sullivan)

9: Kieran Marmion (Caolin Blade)

 

(8-1)

 

8: Paul Boyle 

7: Jarrad Butler (Conor Oliver)

6: Cian Prendergast (Abraham Papali’i)

5: Leva Fifita 

4: Niall Murray (Oisin Dowling)

3: Tietie Tuimauga (Jack Aungier)

2: Shane Delahunt (Jonny Murphy)

1: Denis Buckley (Jordan Duggan)

 

Replacements: 

16: Jonny Murphy 

17: Jordan Duggan 

18: Jack Aungier 

19: Oisin Dowling 

20: Conor Oliver 

21: Caolin Blade 

22: Tom Farrell 

23: Abraham Papali’i

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