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Connacht fall flat as Bernard Jackman picks up first win in charge of Dragons

Kieran Keane’s side were well beaten in Wales, and failed to leave Rodney Parade with even a losing bonus point.

It was a disappointing evening for Connacht.
It was a disappointing evening for Connacht.
Image: Ian Cook/INPHO

Dragons 21

Connacht 8

A POOR FIRST-HALF performance cost Connacht dear as they fell to a 21-8 defeat to Bernard Jackman’s Dragons at Rodney Parade.

Quinn Roux got the western province back in the game after the break with a try, but Connacht paid the price for a shocking start as they turned around 21-3 down.

Scores from Hallam Amos and man of the match Elliot Dee — plus 11 points from the boot of Gavin Henson — put the home side in control and although it was Connacht who had more of the ball after the break, they couldn’t find the scores to go with their possession.

Connacht were behind inside two minutes, Amos opening the scoring for the hosts by finishing off a flowing team move in the corner. Henson missed the conversion and although Carty got the visitors on the board with a simple penalty, the Dragons continued to dominate.

Jackman’s men lost former Leinster back Zane Kirchner to a shoulder injury, but Dee soon got their second after being driven over from close range. Henson converted and added two penalties.

Things then got even worse for Connacht. James Cannon was sin binned for being caught offside before the second of those Henson kicks while Tiernan O’Halloran hobbled off with a dead leg.

Steve Crosbie stepped into the 15 jersey for the visitors and although the Dragons lost two more players in Tyler Morgan and replacement Jarred Rosser to injury, a third Henson penalty put them in total control as the two teams turned around.

That deficit was always going to be tough for Connacht to overcome, but Kieran Keane introduced Kieran Marmion, Jarrad Butler and Dave Heffernan at the break in search of fresh legs.

John Muldoon is tackled by Leon Brown Captain John Muldoon carries into contact. Source: Ian Cook/INPHO

They had an immediate impact and Connacht were much better in the second 40. Lock Roux was driven over from a line-out following a sustained spell of pressure. Carty missed with the conversion, but suddenly it was all Connacht.

Dragons weren’t helped by injuries of their own, scrum-half Sarel Pretorius forced out on to the wing, but somehow they held together.

Connacht were hindered by basic errors, but they were met by a wall of black in the final quarter as Keane’s men failed to leave Newport with even a losing bonus point.

Dragons scorers:Tries: Hallam Amos, Elliot Dee
Conversions: Gavin Henson [1]
Penalties: Gavin Henson [3]Connacht scorers:

Tries: Roux
Penalties: Jack Carty [1]

DRAGONS: Kirchner (Rosser 16, Leonard 36); Hewitt, Morgan (Jones 35), Dixon, Amos; Henson, Pretorius; Harris (Davies 76), Dee (Ellis 79), Brown (Fairbrother 76), Landman (Screech 53), Hill (capt), Keddie (Blake 64), Griffiths, Benjamin

CONNACHT: O’Halloran (Crosbie 26); Leader, Farrell (Griffin 60), Aki, Scholes; Carty, Blade (Marmion 40); Coulson (McCabe 67), McCartney (Heffernan 40), Carey (Bealham 50), Roux (Thornbury 64), Cannon, Masterson, Heenan (Butler 40), Muldoon (capt)

Referee: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)

Attendance: 5,069.

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Alex Bywater

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