Connacht 24-37 Leinster

Connacht fell to a tough defeat at a packed-out Sportsground on Saturday night in a thrilling encounter that saw clinical Leinster take the spoils and book a home Guinness PRO12 semi-final.

With John Muldoon – on his landmark 300th Connacht appearance – leading manfully from the front, Connacht played some scintillating rugby but Leinster were absolutely clinical on the night and took every chance that came their way.

Some ferocious early tackles from Connacht and Kieran Marmion helped to force an early penalty with Ronaldson slotting the long-ranger to make it 3-0 within two minutes.

Leinster responded well and were off the mark before the seventh minute as winger Adam Byrne showed great hands to pop a pass inside for Zane Kirchner to touch down in the right corner.

Byrne soon touched down himself on 10 minutes as he pounced on a Ronaldson pass to run in an intercept try from 60 metres. Ross Byrne knocked over the easy conversion and Leinster led 12-3.

This time, it was Connacht’s turn to muster a riposte, and when Denis Buckley forced the penalty, Ronaldson made no mistake to narrow the deficit to six.

An electric Tiernan O’Halloran break down the right wing then set Connacht up for another attack and an impeccable crossfield kick from Jack Carty found Danie Poolman on the left flank and the winger ran in under the posts for a magnificent try with Ronaldson’s extras giving Connacht a 13-12 lead.

That advantage didn’t last long, however, as Ross Byrne’s first penalty for Leinster moved the visitors back in front on 22 minutes.

A third penalty for Ronaldson on the half hour made it 16-15 to Connacht but Leinster crossed via a Rory O’Loughlin try in the left corner following Luke McGrath’s break as Leinster moved 20-16 in front.

Connacht had the last word of a breathless first half with Ronaldson slotting his third penalty to narrow the deficit to just a single point at the interval, 20-19.

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An incredible break and offload from O’Halloran set up Connacht’s second try after the interval with Carty eventually floating a pass out to Dave Heffernan on the left wing and the hooker had the wheels to cross to move Connacht into a 24-20 lead with half an hour remaining.

Within three minutes, Leinster scored their fourth try as captain Rhys Ruddock touched down from close range and Ross Byrne landed the tricky conversion as the visitors went 26-24 in front.

As Connacht pushed for the next score, they were hit by a sucker punch as Barry Daly hacked a loose pass clear and the ball bounced up perfectly for the replacement to score under the posts with Ross Byrne’s conversion giving Leinster a 10-point advantage.

And a second penalty from Ross Byrne on 76 minutes sealed the win for Leinster.

The home support roared Connacht on throughout and gave Muldoon a hearty reception at full-time as he was presented with a special plaque by Connacht President Pat Piggott to make the incredible achievement of playing 300 games for his home province.

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Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun (Eoin Griffin, 10), Bundee Aki, Craig Ronaldson, Danie Poolman; Jack Carty (Steve Crosbie, 70), Kieran Marmion (Caolin Blade 36-40, 73); Denis Buckley (JP Cooney, 70), Dave Heffernan (Shane Delahunt, 64), Finlay Bealham (Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 70); Quinn Roux (Sean O’Brien, 21), Andrew Browne; Eoin McKeon (Naulia Dawai, h-t), Jake Heenan, John Muldoon (C).

Leinster: Zane Kirchner; Adam Byrne, Rory O’Loughlin, Noel Reid, Dave Kearney; Ross Byrne, Luke McGrath; Cian Healy, James Tracy, Mike Ross; Ross Molony, Hayden Triggs; Dominic Ryan, Josh van der Flier, Rhys Ruddock (C).

Replacements: Seán Cronin, Peter Dooley, Michael Bent, Ian Nagle, Peadar Timmins, Nick McCarthy, Tom Daly, Barry Daly.

Referee: Ian Davies (WRU)

Connacht marked their first visit to Myreside with a 22-19 victory over Edinburgh with Pat Lam’s men withstanding a late comeback to secure their fifth PRO12 victory from the last seven games.

Eoin McKeon scored the only Connacht try with Steve Crosbie, on his second start for the province, kicking six from six in a very composed display from out-half.

Connacht led 22-0 with 63 minutes on the clock but a penalty try, with Tiernan O’Halloran sin-binned as a result, and a score under the posts from Hamish Watson made it 22-14 by the 68th minute.

That ensured an uncomfortable finish for Connacht and a Glenn Bryce try in the left corner on 74 minutes had the nerves jangling but O’Halloran soon returned and the visitors held on.

A clinical first-half display ended with Connacht 17-0 in front as Crosbie kicked his first long-range penalty on nine minutes after Connacht’s first foray into opposition territory.

Edinburgh were enjoying the lion’s share of possession and territory but Connacht were defending well and were soon six points to the good after another excellent long-range kick by Crosbie on 27 minutes.

McKeon struck for Connacht’s first try on the half hour with Kieran Marmion timing his pass perfectly to pop McKeon through a gap with the flanker picking a great line and scoring under the posts.

Clinical Connacht struck again before the break as Crosbie slotted another tricky penalty with ease to make it 17-0 at the interval.

Edinburgh had their chances in that first half but Duncan Weir was off target with both of his penalties.

As in the first half, Connacht defended well to repel the early Edinburgh attacks before capitalising at the other end through the boot of Crosbie for a 19-0 lead on 50 minutes.

Tom McCartney soon departed with a leg injury and The Fields of Athenry was soon heard around Myreside with the travelling support in full voice.

John Muldoon was pointing to the posts again on the hour after an Edinburgh high tackle and Crosbie obliged with a simple three-pointer for a 22-0 lead and Connacht looked home and hosed.

Edinburgh were not going to go down without a fight however and when O’Halloran, on his 100th PRO12 appearance, was deemed to have halted an attack with an intentional offside, referee Dan Jones awarded a penalty try and sin-binned O’Halloran.

Weir kicked the 64th minute conversion and when Hamish Watson slipped through a tackle and touched down under the posts four minutes later, the comeback was well and truly on.

Edinburgh, sensing their opportunity, kept swarming forward and were within three points of overturning the one-time 22-point deficit when Glenn Bryce dived over in the left corner on 74 minutes.

O’Halloran returned after Weir’s missed conversion and Connacht weathered the storm to see out the final minutes for the victory.

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Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun (Josh Rowland, 72), Eoin Griffin, Bundee Aki, Danie Poolman; Steve Crosbie (Jack Carty, 62), Kieran Marmion (Caolin Blade, 61); Denis Buckley (JP Cooney, 67), Tom McCartney (Shane Delahunt, 51), Dominic Robertson-McCoy (Finlay Bealham, 45); Quinn Roux (James Cannon, 63), Andrew Browne; Eoin McKeon, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon (C) (Naulia Dawai, 63).

Guinness PRO12: Zebre 25-22 Connacht

Connacht’s Champions Cup qualification ambitions were dealt a blow after they were beaten 25-22 by Zebre at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in the Guinness PRO12 on Saturday afternoon.

It was a first ever victory for Zebre over the province as the Italian side ran out deserving winners to halt Connacht’s recent run of good from that had seen them win four of their last five.

On a warm day in Parma, skipper John Muldoon won the coin toss and chose for Connacht to play with the sun at their backs in the opening half.

That tactic paid immediate dividends as Connacht ran the ball from their own 22 in the opening minute with full-back Josh Rowland, making his first start, offloading for winger Stacey Ili to score the first try.

John Cooney missed the tricky conversion and Zebre were soon off the mark thanks to a Carlo Canna penalty on eight minutes.

The injured Ili was forced off after 15 minutes with replacement Craig Ronaldson making an immediate impact as he crossed a minute later after combing with Danie Poolman.

Cooney’s conversion was good and Connacht led 12-3 after a bright start.

A third try very nearly followed moments later as Connacht went for the corner off a penalty with Andrew Browne held up over the line.

A Connacht knock-on and subsequent high tackle allowed Zebre relieve the pressure and they took advantage of more indiscipline to kick themselves deep into Connacht territory.

The Italians then mauled their way over the line with Derick Minnie credited with the try and Canna’s conversion made it 12-10 after 27 minutes.

A second Canna three-pointer after a scrum penalty nine minutes before the interval gave Zebre the lead for the first time and despite massive Connacht pressure before the break, the hosts defended manfully to lead at half-time.

The wind was really in Zebre sails when they touched down within a minute of the restart as Kayle van Zyl did superbly to field a high kick with Tommaso Boni eventually touching down in the left corner.

Canna missed the conversion and Connacht responded immediately as Cooney kicked his first penalty on 47 minutes to reduce the deficit and make it 18-15.

As the game entered the final 15 minutes, Connacht were primed to snatch the win with Zebre giving away a number of penalties and Minnie sent to the sin bin as a result.

However, that was the moment when Zebre struck the killer blow as they stole a Connacht lineout deep in their own half and stunned the visitors with a length of the field try finished off by Edoardo Padovani.

Marcello Violi’s conversion was good and Connacht trailed 25-15 with just 13 minutes remaining.

Zebre went down to 14 again when Matteo Pratichetti was yellow-carded on 74 minutes as Connacht threw everything at the hosts.

The visitors were finally rewarded when Rowland scored his first Connacht try in the corner with two minutes remaining and Ronaldson added the conversion.

It was too little too late however as the hosts held on for a deserved victory.

Connacht: Josh Rowland; Danie Poolman, Tom Farrell (Eoin Griffin, 68), Bundee Aki, Stacey Ili (inj Craig Ronalson, 12); Jack Carty, John Cooney (Caolin Blade, 48); Denis Buckley (Ivan Soroka, 76), Tom McCartney (Dave Heffernan, 55), Finlay Bealham (Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 70); Quinn Roux (James Cannon, 69); Andrew Browne; Sean O’Brien (Eoghan Masterson, 57), Eoin McKeon, John Muldoon (captain).

Despite the positive performance in a fast-paced, open game of rugby, Connacht came away from Scotstoun Stadium empty handed this evening.

The game was in the balance right to the end but Glasgow’s Sean Lamont put it out of sight on 78 minutes when he crossed for his side’s fourth try.

Pat Lam’s side started strongly and were ahead at the break following tries from Niyi Adeolokun and John Muldoon but the Warriors came roaring back in the second half to secure the win.

Connacht made all their early pressure count when wing Adeolokun crashed over in the right corner after four minutes, before Glasgow had even touched the ball. Tiernan O’Halloran’s break had put Adeolokun in space.

However, the home side hit back immediately, with the returning Finn Russell kicking a penalty shortly after the restart.

And Gregor Townsend’s men got their noses in front moments later when hooker Corey Flynn crashed over, Russell adding the extras.

But Connacht hit back through a Craig Ronaldson penalty, before captain Muldoon crossed the white line in the left corner following a perfectly timed offload from wing Stacey Ili. The move started with an impressive offload from Jake Heenan, on his 50th appearance for the province, and notable breaks from locks Quinn Roux and Andrew Browne.

Ronaldson landed a difficult conversion kick to make it 15-10, before Russell added another three points from the tee to cap off a breathless first half.

Half time: Glasgow 13 – 15 Connacht

The visitors landed the first blow of the second period through a Ronaldson penalty after Glasgow failed to release, but the home side seized the game by the scruff of the neck after that.

Russell crossed immediately after the restart, and stepped up to convert his own score and put the home side into the lead.

And Connacht were put at a disadvantage on 53 minutes when Jack Carty was sin-binned for a high tackle.

Warriors won a penalty in front of the posts and opted for a scrum, which they powered back over the Connacht line and allowed Ali Price to squirm over, with Russell adding the extras.

Despite being a man down, Connacht rallied and looked to have scored through Adeolokun in the right corner, only to be denied by TMO after a Price tackle bundled the wing into touch.

But Glasgow were reduced to 14 men 15 minutes from time when Tim Swinson was dismissed for a swinging arm at the ruck on Dave Heffernan in the build up to Adeolokun’s effort, and Ronaldson kicked the resulting penalty to close the gap to just six points.

But Connacht could not capitalise on the numerical advantage, and Glasgow stretched their lead back to nine through Peter Horne’s penalty, before replacement scrumhalf John Cooney cancelled this out for Connacht.

Veteran wing Lamont powered over late on to seal a dramatic win for Townsend’s men at a sold out Scotstoun Stadium.

Full time: Glasgow 35 – 24 Connacht

 

 

Guinness PRO12

Connacht 14-9 Newport Gwent Dragons

Connacht made it two wins over Welsh opposition in as many weeks tonight thanks to a nerve-jangling 14-9 victory in front of a vocal crowd at a packed out Sportsground.

While the first half saw Connacht produce an enterprising, energetic performance, Newport Gwent Dragons fought back very strongly in the second half to almost snatch the win.

Tries in the opening 14 minutes from Tiernan O’Halloran and Caolin Blade, both converted by Craig Ronaldson, proved the difference as replacement Angus O’Brien kicked three penalties for the visitors.

An entertaining opening to the game saw Connacht score a fifth minute try through O’Halloran, his fifth of the season. After a frantic, free-flowing start, Jack Carty floated a precise pass for Matt Healy on the left flank and the winger offloaded to in-form O’Halloran to touch down. Ronaldson converted and Connacht led 7-0.

The second try arrived for Blade on 14 minutes with Connacht rampant at this stage. A superbly delayed pass by Ronaldson initiated the move as he released O’Halloran, who picked a great line. The full-back then passed outside to Niyi Adeolokun but a super Pat Howard tackle stopped the winger outside the 22. The forwards then went through a few phases before Blade fooled the Dragons defence with a delightful little show-and-go and dart over the line. A second Ronaldson conversion made it 14-0 after 14 minutes.

Replacement O’Brien came in at out-half for the injured Dorian Jones shortly afterwards and the youngster got his team off the mark after a Connacht infringement at the breakdown to make it 14-3 on 18 minutes.

Not surprisingly, the game entered a lull following the action-packed opening but Connacht burst into life once more on the half-hour as Carty released the electric Healy once again for the initial break with the ball eventually worked up to the right corner after some incredible hands but the final pass to Sean O’Brien went forward.

Connacht were almost in again moments later as Ronaldson stepped in to intercept Angus O’Brien’s pass in midfield and break away but his pass back to centre partner Tom Farrell, who was excellent on his full debut, was knocked on.

Newport made the better start to the second half and an O’Brien penalty after a Connacht offside on 42 minutes made it 14-6.

The lead was down to five points on 52 minutes as the retreating Adeolokun gathered a dangerous chip in behind. The Dragons defence immediately swarmed on the winger with the penalty inevitable as O’Brien brought the visitors to within a score with 28 minutes to go, 14-9.

Connacht then required some last-ditch scramble defence on their own line after Harrison Keddie forced the turnover with a big tackle on replacement John Cooney after a lineout. The Dragons were camped on the Connacht line and a try looked inevitable when they swung the ball left but O’Halloran and company were quick on the scene and managed to prevent the try.

The excellent Connacht scrum then pushed their counterparts off the ball to earn a penalty and relieve the pressure as Connacht survived.

The next close call came at the other end as Healy raced onto a kick through but his offload to Cooney was too low and the chance was gone.

A brilliant Sean O’Brien turnover then saved Connacht’s bacon as the game neared the 70-minute mark as the Dragons went perilously close again.

There was further drama in the final 10 minutes as Conney’s try was ruled out for an infringement in the build-up but there was to be no late show from Newport as Connacht clung on for a precious win.

A trip to Italy to face Benetton Treviso awaits Connacht next Sunday with Zebre visiting the Sportsground in the next home game on Friday, March 3 at 7.35pm.

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Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Craig Ronaldson (Rory Parata, 77), Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Caolin Blade (John Cooney, 56); Denis Buckley (Ronan Loughney, 78), Dave Heffernan (Tom McCartney, 56), Finlay Bealham (JP Cooney, 78); Ultan Dillane (Nepia Fox-Matamua, 63), Quinn Roux (James Cannon, 69); Sean O’Brien, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon (C).

Unused replacement:  Steve Crosbie.

Newport Gwent Dragons: Tom Prydie; Adam Hughes, Tyler Morgan, Adam Warren, Pat Howard; Dorian Jones, Tavis Knoyle; Sam Hobbs, Elliot Dee, Brok Harris; Nick Crosswell, Rynard Landman; Ollie Griffiths, Nic Cudd, Lewis Evans (C).

Replacements; Darran Harris, Thomas Davies, Lloyd Fairbrother, Cory Hill, Harrison Keddie, Sarel Pretorius, Angus O’Brien, Sam Beard.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Connacht’s dreams of reaching a first ever Champions Cup quarter final were dashed in France today by four-time Champions Toulouse. The French side booked their place in the knock out stages with a 19 – 10 win at Stade Ernest-Wallon.

Connacht knew a losing bonus-point would have been enough to seal a first appearance in the Champions Cup last-eight and never gave up in their hunt for a last-gasp score.

But a determined Toulouse held strong after a quick-fire start that saw them score twice in the first quarter through Gael Fickou and Arthur Bonneval. Outhalf Jean-Marc Doussain kicked the two conversions to put the home side 14 – 0 up after 20 minutes.

Connacht finally got on the board after 33 minutes with a penalty kicked by centre Craig Ronaldson but Quinn Roux was shown a yellow card just before half-time.

Half time: Toulouse 14 – 3 Connacht

Toulouse continued to pile on the pressure after the break with their one-man advantage and just as Connacht were back to full strength, Joe Tekori peeled off the back of a powerful maul to score and make it 19-3.

But minutes later, Connacht were on the attack and a penalty lead to a five-metre lineout. Peter Robb made good ground with a powerful run down the centre before the ball was shipped to John Muldoon, who barged his way over. Ronaldson converted to cut the gap to 19-10 with 25 minutes of play remaining.

While all that was needed was a penalty or drop goal to advance, Pat Lam’s side were also aware that they needed to prevent Toulouse from scoring a fourth bonus-point try. A tense finish ensued but Toulouse held on to secure best runner-up from Pool 2. The French side will travel to Thomond Park to take-on Munster at Thomond Park.

Full time: Toulouse 19 – 10 Connnacht

TOULOUSE: Yoann Huget; Arthur Bonneval, Yann David, Gaël Fickou, Paul Perez; Jean-Marc Doussain, Sébastien Bézy; Cyril Baille (Vasil Kakovin ’66), Christopher Tolofua (Leonardo Ghiraldini ’68), Census Johnston (Maks van Dyk ’66); Richie Gray, Yoann Maestri; Joe Tekori (Gillian Galan ’68), Thierry Dusautoir (captain), François Cros (Piula Faasalele ’71).

Replacements not used: Talalelei Gray, Toby Flood, Alexis Palisson

CONNACHT: Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun (HIA – Danie Poolman ’63), Peter Robb, Craig Ronaldson, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion (John Cooney ’75); Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney (Dave Heffernan ’65), Finlay Bealham (John Andress ’75); Quinn Roux (yellow card ’37); James Cannon; Nepia Fox-Matamua (Sean O’Brien ’63), Jake Heenan, John Muldoon (captain).

Replacements not used: JP Cooney, Naulia Dawai, Tom Farrell.

Referee: Wayne Barnes [RFU].

Attendance: 12, 023.

 

Connacht secured a 10-try bonus point win over Zebre in round 5 of the Champions Cup. The 66 – 21 win keeps Connacht hopes alive of reaching the last eight of the competition ahead of a trip to Toulouse next Sunday.

While Matt Healy set the tone for the game with a try after one minute, Zebre showed their attacking strengths and got two tries in quick succession in the first quarter, each on the back of a solid scrum in the 22.

But Connacht found their rhythm and shape and the four-try bonus point was secured today after 27 minutes when Finlay Bealham scored from a five-metre rolling maul to add to earlier backline scores from Healy, John Cooney and Tiernan O’Halloran.

Kieran Marmion and Craig Ronaldson also crossed the whitewash before the break with Cooney, playing out of position at outhalf today, knocking over five from six conversions.

Half time: Connacht 40 – 14 Zebre  

Pat Lam’s man came out firing after the break and Healy and O’Halloran got over for a second try each within three minutes, Cooney converting on both occasions.

Zebre got over for a late consolation score on the hour mark but with Marmion and his replacement Caolin Blade adding to the tally, the game was out of reach.

Full time: Connacht 66 – 21 Zebre

Referee: Tom Foley (England)

Man of the Match: Tiernan O’Halloran

Attendance: 5, 607

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran (Danie Poolman ’57);  Niyi Adeolokun, Rory Parata, Craig Ronaldson (Tom Farrell ’42),   Matt Healy; John Cooney,   Kieran Marmion (Caolin Blade ’54)

Denis Buckley (JP Cooney ‘37), Tom McCartney (Dave Heffernan ’46), Finlay Bealham (John Andress ’46); Lewis Stevenson,   James Cannon;  Sean O’Brien, Eoin McKeon, (James Connolly ’68), John Muldoon (Naulia Dawai ’46)

Zebre: Kurt Baker, Lloyd Greeff,   Edoardo Padovani,   Mattia Bellini, Guglielmo Palazzani;  Carlo Canna (Serafin Bordoli ’63), Marcello Violi (Carlo Engelbrecht ’70)

Andrea Lovotti (Andrea de Marchi ’55), Carlo Festuccia (Oliviero Fabiani ’46), Pietro Ceccarelli (Dario Chistolini ’59), Gideon Koegelenberg (Josh Furno ’46), Valerio Bernabo (Derick Minnie ’59). Maxime Mbanda, Johan Meyer (George Biagi ’74), Federico Ruzza.

The Connacht Eagles suffered a 14 – 41 defeat at the hands of a strong London Irish outfit at Dubarry Park today.

Centre Ciaran Gaffney, who made his senior debut in the Guinness PRO12 last month, opened the scoring for the home side just before the break with sub academy outhalf Luke Carty kicking the conversion.

The outhalf wasn’t up to the tee again until the 77th minute when Sean Masterson, younger brother of senior player Eoghan, crossed for the last score of the game.

London Irish, unbeaten this season, now progress to the quarter final of the B&I Cup while the Eagles must travel to Cornwall next weekend in search of their first win in the campaign.

Connacht Eagles: 15 Josh Rowland, 14 Matthew Byrne, 13 Ciaran Gaffney, 12 Kieran Joyce, 11 Adam Leavy, 10 Luke Carty, 9 Conor McKeon, 1 Jack Dinneen, 2 Shane O’Hehir, 3 Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 4 Cillian Gallagher, 5 Danny Qualter, 6 Rory Moloney, 7 Josh Pim, 8 Marc Kelly

Replacements: 16 Conor Kyne, 17 Saba Meunargia, 18 Cian Romaine, 19 Sean Masterson, 20 Stephen Kerins, 21 Morgan Codyre, 22 Joe Murphy

London Irish: 15 Tom Parton, 14 Matt Williams, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Ross Neal (Johnny Williams, 65), 11 Ben Ransom, 10 Theo Brophy Clews (Jacob Atkins, 60), 9 Scott Steele, 1 Harry Elrington, 2 Todd Gleave, 3 Ollie Hoskins, 4 Jerry Sexton (Will Lloyd, 60), 5 Josh McNally, 6 Joe Trayfoot (Luke Narraway, 65), 7 Conor Gilsenan (c), 8 Senitiki Nayalo

Replacements: 16 Ollie Adams, 17 Austin Hay, 18 Will Lloyd, 19 Luke Narraway, 20 Rory Brand, 21 Johnny Williams, 22 Jacob Atkins

Connacht suffered a disappointing 29 – 7 defeat at the hands of a strong Ospreys side in Wales today.

Pat Lam’s side never gave up with Sean O’Brien crossing for his first Connacht try after 75 minutes and John Cooney stepping up to convert. But Ospreys finished with their fourth try and another bonus point win to go top of the PRO12 Rugby table.

Ospreys raced out of the blocks and opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Number 8 Dan Baker charged over after Hanno Dirksen, on his 100th appearance for the club, was stopped just short.

Sam Davies converted and barely two minutes later flanker Olly Cracknell doubled the home side’s lead at the Liberty Stadium as he powered through the Connacht defence.

The Ospreys outhalf was once again on target with the conversion as the Welsh side dominated the early exchanges.

With half an hour played, the Ospreys nearly had their third try as Welsh international Justin Tipuric squeezed over in the corner but the TMO confirmed Matt Healy had taken the flanker into touch.

Half time: Ospreys 14 – 0 Connacht

Davies extended the lead to 17 – 0 with a 30-metre penalty four minutes into the second half with a successful penalty.

A Tom Habberfield break saw Ospreys on their way to their third try as a penalty for the hosts was sent into the corner with prop Nicky Smith eventually driving over from close range.

And it was Davies again from the tee with his third successful conversion of the afternoon.

Connacht replacement Danie Poolman came close to the Ospreys try line with ten minutes to play as he attempted to latch onto John Cooney’s kick but Dafydd Howells’ tackle denied him the score in greasy conditions.

Davies was shown a yellow card for a high tackle on Cooney in the build-up and Connacht’s pressure soon paid off as O’Brien pounced on a loose ball to touch down in the corner.

It was the first try the Ospreys had conceded in the Guinness PRO12 since Edinburgh on December 2nd and it was converted from the touchline by Cooney.

But there was still time for centre Ashley Beck to snatch the bonus point as he dived over with the last play of the game with the missed conversion inconsequential to the result.

Full time: Ospreys 29 – 7 Connacht

Ospreys: Evans; Howells (Biggar 72), Beck, Matavesi (Fonatia 66), Dirksen; Davies, Habberfield (Leonard 65); Smith (Thomas 65) Parry (Otten 66), Fia (Jones 57), Ashley (Beard 73), Jones (capt), Cracknell (Underhill 65), Tipuric, Baker.

Connacht: O’Halloran; Adeolokun, Parata, Robb (Poolman 41), Healy (Gaffney 78); Carty (Blade 31), Cooney; Buckley (Cooney 66), McCartney (Heffernan 55), Bealham (Andress 66), Roux (Stevenson 66), Cannon, O’Brien, Heenan (McKeon 12), Dawai

Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)

 

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