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O'Halloran wonder try seals draw at Sixways and a quarter-final slot for Connacht

Connacht battled the Warriors to a draw and sealed their place in the Challenge Cup last eight.

Worcester Warriors 24
Connacht 24

Declan Rooney reports from Sixways Stadium

TIERNAN O’HALLORAN SCORED a stunning try as Connacht rescued a draw at Sixways and secured a quarter-final slot in the Challenge Cup.

Connacht looked in trouble when they trailed 24-14 at half-time after tries from John Muldoon and Niyi Adeolokun kept them in touch.

But O’Halloran’s try and some expert kicking off the tee helped them back into the game before they failed to take their chances at the death: Conor Carey had a try ruled out before Caolin Blade came close in the final play.

Despite failing to win the game, Connacht are now guaranteed to win their group and so qualify for the last eight with a game to spare. They are not yet guaranteed a home quarter-final, however.

Reduced to 13 players for the last seven minutes of the first half, Connacht did well to trail Warriors by only 10 points at the interval given the home side had the try bonus point already sealed by that point.

Tries form Perry Humphreys and Sam Lewis inside the first five minutes saw Worcester take advantage of a slow Connacht start.

It took Connacht 17 minutes to finally gain a foothold when Muldoon score his 23rd Connacht try – Ronaldson’s conversion made it 12-7 – while Warriors were reduced to 14 players with Chris Pennell in the bin.

A well-worked move off the back of a maul saw Humphreys score his second try for the home side 17 minutes from the break, but Connacht hit back well when Niyi Adeolokun ran clear after a Connacht move broke down on the left.

Niyi Adeolokun scores a try Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

But yellow cards for Quinn Roux – his second in consecutive games – and Jarrad Butler meant Connacht finished out the first half two men short – a period during which the Warriors scored their crucial fourth try through Josh Adams for a 24-14 half-time lead.

Connacht eventually replied with a penalty from Ronaldson in the 53rd minute to move within a converted score.

Six minutes later they got it, as O’Halloran burst up-field to dot down a fantastic solo effort.

His try was duly converted by Ronaldson to bring the teams level, and a final Connacht push late on should have seen them seal an unlikely victory only for knock-ons cost them.

Having already reached the last eight, victory over Oyonnax next weekend will ensure Connacht receive a home quarter-final.

Scorers

Worcester Warriors

Tries: Perry Humphreys (2), Sam Lewis, Josh Adams

Conversions: Chris Pennell (2)

Connacht

Tries: John Muldoon, Niyi Adeolokun, Tiernan O’Halloran

Conversions: Craig Ronaldson (3)

Penalties: Craig Ronaldson

Worcester Warriors: Josh Adams ; Perry Humphreys, Chris Pennell, Ryan Mills, Dean Hammond; Jamie Shillcock, Francois Hougaard (Michael Dowsett 64); Ethan Waller (Ryan Bower 54), Jack Singleton , Simon Kerrod (Bi Alo 59), Darren Barry, Pierce Phillips (Huw Taylor 72), David Denton, Sam Lewis (Matt Cox 54), GJ van Velze

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Darragh Leader (Cian Kelleher 51), Bundee Aki, Tom Farrell, Niyi Adeolokun; Craig Ronaldson, Kieran Marmion (Caolin Blade 54); Peter McCabe (Denis Coulson 72), David Heffernan, Conor Carey, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Eoghan Masterson (Naulia Dawai 72), Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon

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