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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 20 April 2021

Carty's last-gasp intercept sends Connacht through to Challenge Cup quarter-finals

The western province came back from the dead to snatch victory over Bordeaux this afternoon.

Carty celebrates his late try.
Carty celebrates his late try.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Bordeaux Begles 27

Connacht 33

CONNACHT CAME FROM eight points adrift in the final nine minutes to snatch a dramatic win and secure their place in the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup for the tenth time.

Andy Friend’s side looked to be bowing out as Bordeaux Begles, already eliminated, tried turning the screw in the closing minutes.

But Connacht never gave up and struck twice in the closing minutes to snatch a dramatic win, much to the delight of the several hundred Connacht fans in the crowd of 11,889, with Jack Carty the match-winning hero. 

A try Matt Healy try after 10 minutes gave Connacht a perfect start and it got better after Bordeaux out-half Lucas Meret pulled back a penalty, when Friend’s men struck for their second try.

They were rewarded for going to the right corner with a penalty and Quinn Roux, captaining the side for the first time, finished off a fine move where Bundee Aki was again a key figure.

But Bordeaux made it clear they were up for a battle even though they were already out of contention in the competition. 

A malfunction in the Connacht lineout was punished when replacement Afa Amosa got in for the hosts’ opening try and a conversion and a penalty from Meret pushed the French 13-12 in front after 25 minutes.

The Connacht response was good and the impressive Healy made the break which put his fullback Tiernan O’Halloran through to score, with David Horwitz adding the easy conversion.

Quinn Roux in the maul It was a scrappy battle in France. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

However, Bordeaux struck just before the break when replacement prop Jefferson Poirot spotted a gap in the Connacht defence to go through and score, with Meret’s fourth kick of the opening half leaving them 20-19 in front at the interval.

Bordeaux struck a telling blow nine minutes after the restart when Serin got in for their third try after Connacht were turned over inside their own half.

Tom Farrell almost hit back for Connacht but couldn’t ground the ball, but they got a lifeline eight minutes from time when they went from their own line to the other end in a superb move for Healy to get their second try.

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Carty, who had come on with another newcomer to the Irish squad Caolin Blade in the second half, added the conversion to leave just one between them.

They didn’t stop there and sealed a dramatic comeback win when Carty broke from 30 metres to score under the posts before adding the conversion to seal a famous Connacht win.

A place in the quarter-finals awaits. 

Bordeaux scorers:

Tries: Afa Amosa, Jefferson Poirot, Baptiste Serin
Conversions: Lucas Meret [3 from 3]
Penalties: Meret [2 from 2] 

Connacht scorers:

Tries: Matt Healy [2], Quinn Roux, Tiernan O’Halloran, Jack Carty
Conversions: David Horwitz [2 from 3], Carty [2 from 2]

BORDEAUX: Darly Domvo; Nicolas Plazy, Seta Tamanivalu, Ulupano Seuteni (Simon Desaubies 40), Geoffrey Cros; Lucas Meret, Baptiste Serin (Jules Gimbert 54); Laurent Delboulbes (Jefferson Poirot 29); Maxime Lamothe, Viliamu Afatia (Vadim Cobilas 54), Mariano Galarza, Cyril Cazeaux (Nathan Decron 61); Cameron Woki (Adrien Pelissié 54), Alexandre Roumat (Afa Amosa 20-31), Leroy Houston.

CONNACHT: Tiernan O’Halloran; Darragh Leader, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy; David Horwitz (Jack Carty 50), Stephen Kerins (Caolin Blade 47); Pete McCabe (Matthew Burke 62), Shane Delahunt (Jonny Murphy63), Finlay Bealham (Dominic Robertson-McCoy 55); Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux; Paul Boyle, James Connolly (Eoghan Masterson 59), Eoin McKeon.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy).

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John Fallon

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