Ospreys 10

Connacht 20

Connacht claimed their fourth Pro14 win in a row with a valuable win over the Ospreys in the Liberty Stadium. Away wins in Wales have proven difficult for Connacht over the past two seasons and having gone down to the Ospreys in the corresponding fixture last year, Connacht were determined to add to the three bonus point wins over in the past three rounds.

It was a wet a windy evening in Swansea, as the teams took to the field in conditions akin to an average winters evening in the Sportsground.

The Ospreys were first to take the lead when Luke Price converted an easy penalty inside four minutes.

From there to half time though Connacht dominated the game. In the sixth minute, Niyi Adeolokun received a pass out wide just inside the Ospreys half and when he kicked ahead there was only one winner as he touched down for the second game in a row.

After Ospreys gave away a succession of penalties in the opening 25 minutes, they found themselves down to 14 men. Connacht asserted their advantage immediately and when Peter Robb received a pass 5 metres out, nobody was going to stop him as he drove over. Conor Fitzgerald kicked his second conversion of the game to add to a successful penalty – leaving Connacht leading 17-3 at the break.

There was always going to be an Ospreys purple patch and it came as the teams emerged for the second half, with replacement out half James Hook beginning to control the game. Ospreys pressure was rewarded on the 55th minute when they scored an excellent try in the corner which was excellently converted.

From there though Connacht reasserted their control and won the kicking battle. Their territorial advantage was rewarded with a penalty after sustained pressure which Fitzgerald duly converted to maintain his 100 per cent kicking record.

From there to the end an Ospreys come back never looked likely and their final act was an attempted penalty from halfway to salvage a bonus point loss, which sailed wide with 80 minutes on the clock.

So Connacht go home with another four points on the board and maintain top spot in Conference B of the Pro14. Next up is two massive home games against Leinster next Friday and then the return to Champions Cup action against Montpellier in two weeks.

Connacht Scorers

Tries – Niyi Adeolokun 1, Peter Robb 1.

Penalties – Conor Fitzgerald 2

Conversions – Conor Fitzgerald 2

 

Darragh Leader, Niyi Adeolokun (Stephen Fitzgerald), Tom Farrell, Peter Robb (Tom Daly), John Porch, Conor Fitzgerald, Kieran Marmion (Caolin Blade) (1-8): Denis Buckley (Matthew Burke), Dave Heffernan (Jonny Murphy), Dominic Robertson McCoy (Conor Kenny), Ultan Dillane (Cillian Gallagher), Joe Maksymiw (Robin Copeland), Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler (C), Paul Boyle.

 

Connacht centre Tom Farrell is set for his first start of the Guinness PRO14 season as his side travel to Swansea to take on the Ospreys on Saturday (Kick off 5:15pm). Farrell is included following his two tries against the Cheetahs in The Sportsground last weekend.
 
Farrell and his midfield partner Peter Robb are included in a back line that also includes winger Niyi Adeolokun who finished the Cheetahs game as Man of the Match after scoring one try and setting up a second. He is part of a back three that includes John Porch on the opposite wing and Darragh Leader who has returned from injury to take his place at full back.
 
The impressive Conor Fitzgerald continues at out-half alongside Kieran Marmion who has scored three tries in the opening four games of the season.
 
In the pack, injury has forced Head Coach Andy Friend to make a number of changes for the trip to Wales. Dominic Robertson McCoy replaces Finlay Bealham at tighthead, while there is a new second row with Ultan Dillane and Joe Maksymiw coming in from the start.
 
There is a settled look about the back row, where Captain Jarrad Butler is named at openside with Eoghan Masterson at blindside and Paul Boyle at number 8.
 
Commenting ahead of the game, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend said; “Our squad is in confident mood after three bonus point wins in a row. We have a few changes from the win over Cheetahs last weekend, but I am really happy with the depth we have in the squad and how we have performed so far”.
 
“Our win away to Dragons in Round Two was our first in Wales in a while so we will be looking to back that up with a win this weekend. Ospreys are a very competitive side especially when they are at home. We saw that last season when we played them over there, so we face a really tough test. We have Leinster and Montpellier coming up in the Sportsground over the next two weekends, so it is important for us to keep winning going into those games”.
 
 
Connacht Matchday Squad V Ospreys (Sat 2 NOV, 5.15PM)

(15-9): Darragh Leader, Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Peter Robb, John Porch, Conor Fitzgerald, Kieran Marmion.
(1-8): Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Joe Maksymiw, Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler (C), Paul Boyle.
Replacements: Jonny Murphy, Matthew Burke, Conor Kenny, Cillian Gallagher, Robin Copeland, Caolin Blade, Tom Daly, Stephen Fitzgerald.

Ireland international scrum half Kieran Marmion has returned to the Connacht side to face the Ospreys at the Brewery Field, Bridgend on Friday (Kick off 8:05pm). His return sees him renew his half back partnership with Jack Carty who is back in the starting team after being rested for the trip to Sale last weekend.

Bundee Aki also returns to the midfield alongside Tom Farrell. They are part of a back line that includes Tiernan O’Halloran at full back and Niyi Adeolokun and Cian Kelleher on the wings.

In the forwards, Finlay Bealham who was named in the Ireland squad yesterday, starts at tight head. He is joined in the front row by loosehead Denis Buckley and hooker Tom McCartney. Behind them in the scrum will be Quinn Roux and Ultan Dillane.

Sean O’Brien returns from injury and is named in the back row with Captain Jarrad Butler at openside and 21 year old Paul Boyle at number 8.

Announcing his team, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend spoke of the importance of Marmion’s return; “We have a few of our more experienced players coming back into the side which is a big boost to the squad. Caolin Blade has done really well for us over the past few games, but it is great to have Kieran back as well. He is a really important player for us and he is fit and rearing to go. We also have Bundee back in our midfield alongside Tom Farrell. So overall, we are strengthened by our returning players for what we expect to be a tough fixture.”, Friend said.

“Ospreys are going really well in our conference with four wins from their opening six games. The fact that they are hosting the game in Bridgeend, means that it will be a really unique fixture. A few of our squad have played there before so some guys will be familiar with the ground. It will be a great atmosphere and we are really looking forward to the challenge”, he added.

 

 

#OSPvCON

Kick-off 8:05pm:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Cian Kelleher, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Sean O’Brien, Jarrad Butler (Capt), Paul Boyle.

Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Conan O’Donnell, Conor Carey, James Cannon, Colby Fainga’a, Caolin Blade, Conor Fitzgerald, Kyle Godwin.

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)

 

Connacht Rugby Head Coach Pat Lam has announced his match day 23 for tomorrow’s Guinness PRO12 round 13 clash with Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium (Kick Off: 1.30pm – live on SKY Sports 1).

There are three personnel changes to the starting team that lined out against Munster six days ago.

With Kieran Marmion rested this week, scrum half John Cooney makes a timely return from injury to start in an otherwise unchanged backline.

Up front, the back row is changed with the introduction of Sean O’Brien at blindside flanker and Naulia Dawai at Number 8 for his first Connacht start.

Tom McCartney will captain the side in the absence of John Muldoon who had, up to now, started every game this season but was ruled out this week with a hamstring injury.

From the bench, Galway man Eoin McKeon is in line to make his 100th Connacht appearance if he is called upon in Wales tomorrow afternoon.

Commenting on the upcoming game, Pat Lam said:

“There is real excitement in the camp as we face another great challenge away to Ospreys who are flying high in the PRO12 championship. They have one of the best all-round games as well as the most successful record at home this season, highlighted by their 29 points earned out of a possible 30.

“Our focus remains on improving our game and if we can nail our execution and detail, it will give us a great chance of challenging for the points on offer.”

Team to face Ospreys

Saturday January 7th, kick off 13:30, Liberty Stadium  

(Connacht caps in brackets)

15           Tiernan O’Halloran (115)
14           Niyi Adeolokun (46)
13           Rory Parata (23)
12           Peter Robb (23)
11           Matt Healy (81)
10           Jack Carty (69)
9             John Cooney (28)

1             Denis Buckley (105)
2             Tom McCartney (53) (captain)
3             Finlay Bealham (69)
4             Quinn Roux (44)
5             James Cannon (6)
6             Sean O’Brien (28)
7             Jake Heenan (45)
8             Naulia Dawai (3)

Replacements:

16           Dave Heffernan (72)
17           JP Cooney (41)
18           John Andress (1)
19           Lewis Stevenson (9)
20           Eoin McKeon (99)
21           Caolin Blade (35)
22           Danie Poolman (76)
23           Ciaran Gaffney (1)

Injured / Unavailable: Ronan Loughney, Conor Carey, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ivan Soroka, Conan O’Donnell, Ultan Dillane, Ben Marshall, Andrew Browne, Nepia Fox-Matamua, John Muldoon, Eoghan Masterson, Marnitz Boshoff, Shane O’Leary, Craig Ronaldson, Stacey Ili, Bundee Aki, Eoin Griffin, Cormac Brennan, Cian Kelleher, Josh Rowland, Darragh Leader.

Ospreys v Connacht
At Liberty Stadium
Kick off 1.30pm
Live on Sky Sports 1

Referee: John Lacey (IRFU, 59th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Gary Conway (IRFU), Dewi Phillips (WRU)
Citing Commissioner: Gwyn Bowden (WRU)
TMO: Neil Paterson (SRU)

Ahead of Saturday’s Guinness PRO12 round 13 game away to Ospreys (1:30pm), the Connacht Rugby medical team have provided the following update.

Finlay Bealham and Matt Healy are both suffering from stomach bugs and will not train today (Tuesday). They will be monitored this week ahead of team selection.

Jack Carty picked up a minor calf injury in training on Monday. He will be monitored this week ahead of team selection.

Ultan Dillane sustained an ankle injury in the final minutes of the Ulster game on December 23rd. The second row, who is unavailable for a number of weeks, will be assessed today by an ankle specialist to determine his treatment plan and length of recovery.

Nepia Fox-Matamua dislocated his rib in the Munster game. He is unavailable this week but his fitness will be monitored by the medical team.

John Muldoon suffered a hamstring injury in training on Monday. He is unavailable for the game with Ospreys on Saturday.

RETURNING

Eoin McKeon and James Connolly have both recovered from last week’s illness and have re-joined training.

John Cooney has been integrated into team training this week following his thigh injury. It is hoped he will be available for selection against Ospreys.

Danie Poolman has returned to team training having passed the return-to-play protocols for concussion.

 

Ospreys v Connacht
Saturday January 7th
Liberty Stadium
Kick off 1:30pm

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