On the day of Jarrad Butler’s 100th cap and debuts for Adam Byrne and Darragh Murray, Connacht leave Swansea beating Ospreys 22-19.

A very entertaining first half, but not for the first time this season Connacht got off to a poor start when Ospreys took an early lead. Playing off scraps Ospreys pounced on the opportunity that came their way which led to Huw Sutton crossing over after two minutes of play.

Things didn’t get much better for Connacht who started the game very scrappy and once again giving the Ospreys another soft try to widen their lead to 12 after eight minutes. Scrum half Morgan-Williams with the try.

Ospreys went down to 14 after Ethan Roots was shown a yellow for a dangerous late tackle on Gavin Thornbury.

Playing with an extra man Connacht couldn’t capitalise on the advantage. Plenty of opportunities created with a number of entries into the Ospreys 22 including a Jack Aungier disallowed try, the prop forward who was held up over the line in the 20th minute. From the resulting drop kick, Ospreys went straight down the other end with a defensive line-out to Connacht in their own 22.

26 minutes on the clock and Roscommon man Darragh Murray made his Connacht debut, a player you no doubt will be seeing more of.

With less than ten minutes to go Connacht found their feet when Alex Wootton got their first try of the game. This score all started when John Porch managed to grab a ball most players wouldn’t have been able to. Tiernan O’Halloran with the offload which was behind the Connacht winger, but no bother to Porch who somehow managed to collect it while in full flight. Connacht then went through a few phases before Jack Carty sent a lovely pass to the right which Wootton collected before flying over.

Five minutes later, Caolin Blade crossed over after great work by centre partnership David Hawkshaw and Tom Farrell with a one two combination of passes. Carty converted and Connacht went in at half time two in front. The half also saw Adam Byrne come on for his debut for the men in green.

Andy Friend’s side got off to the perfect start in the second half when John Porch got the third Connacht try of the game after an Osprey error in the lead up. Porch finishing off after a number of phases in the lead up.

Connacht controlled the majority of the second half with Jack Carty managing the game extremely well. Ospreys though did get another try when Sam Parry got the hosts third try of the game in the 69th minute. The conversion was kicked to make it a three point game.

With the game on the line Connacht held on to make it back-to-back wins in the BKT United Rugby Championship to end this block of games on a high.

Connacht’s next game will be away to Munster at the end of the month.

Its round 7 of the BKT United Rugby Championship as Connacht travel to Wales to take on Ospreys at the Swansea.Com Stadium. 

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s game.

When’s the game?

Kick-off at is at 7.35pm on Saturday 29th October.

What’s the state of play so far?

Connacht make their way to Wales on the back of a bonus point win over Scarlets at home last Friday. The win was Connacht’s second win of the URC this season.

Ospreys are without a win in their last three games. In their opening six games they have won one, drawn two and lost three including a defeat to the Dragons at the weekend.

How’s our recent record against them?

Our recent record against the Ospreys in the URC over the last five games have been as follows,

  • Con 46-18 Osp
  • Con 20-26 Osp
  • Osp 10-20 Con
  • Con 46-5 Osp
  • Osp 22-17 Con

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 through Ospreys

What channel is it on?

RTE 2 and Premier Sports will have live TV coverage while Galway Bay FM have live radio commentary.

By John O’Sullivan 

 

Head coach Andy Friend says it is important that Connacht finish their campaign off with a win against the Ospreys on Friday night in order to provide a positive springboard into next season. 

 

After a loss to Benetton Rugby last time out, the Westerners cannot qualify for the GuinnessPRO14 Rainbow Cup final stages and the 6:00 pm kick-off against the Welshmen will be their final game of the season. 

 

Friend, however, believes that a victory will provide confidence going into the 2021/2022 campaign and the game itself — against an Ospreys team who are still in the running for a finals berth — will provide a platform for players to win Ireland selections ahead of the national team’s summer tests. 

 

“We’re all competitors in this game, and you never go into a contest where you don’t want to win it,” the Australian said. 

 

“100% we want to win this game on the weekend and use it as a springboard, that would be good. But even just to finish the season off, because otherwise it just sits in your guts. 

 

“If the last game we have is a loss, it doesn’t help you. You’re sitting there for the next two and a half, three months before you play your next game and you think ‘crikey, that last one wasn’t so flash’, so we all want to win it. 

 

“I certainly know I want to win it and I know, talking to the majority of the players here, there’s an energy and desire to win that.’

 

Ireland will host the United States and Japan in summer tests in July and Friend — who recently marked three years at the province — says that winning squad places for those games will provide extra motivation for his players. 

 

“The players are very aware that there’s an Irish squad that will hopefully be named in a week or two weeks time,” the former Australian sevens coach said.

 

“We’ve got a chunk of players who I believe are able to be named in that. You got to keep performing and you got to keep putting your hand up and there is a motivation in that. 

 

“There is also a motivation and pride in the jersey and what we’re about, so — as we’ve seen this year — we’ve had real highs and real lows, but normally every time we’ve had a low, we’ve bounced back with a real high. 

 

“I think our motivation will be fine. Ospreys beat us this season, so we’ll want to turn the tables on that too.”

 

Elsewhere, centre Bundee Aki said he is extremely proud to represent Connacht and the West of Ireland with the British and Irish Lions this summer. 

 

Aki was named in Warren Gatland’s 37 man squad for the tour to South Africa this summer, becoming the fourth Connacht player to represent the Lions after Ciaran Fitzgerald(1983), John O’Driscoll(1980 and 1983) and Ray O’Loughlin(1966 and 1971)

 

The Ireland international, 31, says that he is grateful for the role that Connacht and the local community have played in helping him achieve such an honour. 

 

“It’s a big honour to be able to be selected in the Lions squad,” Aki said. 

 

“I’m proud to be representing Connacht, as well as Ireland, as well as my family. I won’t be taking anything lightly about it. It’s obviously a huge honour and I will definitely take it with both hands.

 

“I wouldn’t have been where I am now if it wasn’t for the help of the community when I first arrived. They made me feel like I was at home. The support that we have had(his family) from the day we arrived here in Galway, the organisation here in Connacht have been so good to me until this day,” the 2016 PRO12 winner said. 

 

“I’m so grateful for having this kind of support here in Galway. I know the community has been so good. A lot of people have been sending me stuff here and there and it’s overwhelming to be able to have that effect on this community, this small community.”

 

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