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Connacht fall to one point defeat against Edinburgh

Andy Friend’s side went down 15-14 at the Sportsground after captain Jarrad Butler was sent off.

Eoghan Masterson wins a line-out.
Eoghan Masterson wins a line-out.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

CONNACHT 14

EDINBURGH 15

NATHAN CHAMBERLAIN SCORED an 83rd minute winner as Connacht were denied at the death in terrible conditions at the Sportsground.

First-half tries from academy player Sean O’Brien in his first start and Shane Delahunt looked to have given Connacht to their ninth PRO14 win of the season but Chamberlin’s late penalty and even later try gave his side the victory.

Captain Jarrad Butler was sent off for Connacht in the 57th minute following a shoulder charge, and after the concession of a try to Magnus Bradbury in the first half, Edinburgh’s late score was enough for the victory.

With the powerful Sportsground wind at their backs, Connacht pinned Edinburgh back inside their own 22 for much of the opening half. There was impressive work-rate in the loose and defence from props Denis Buckley and Jack Aungier, while academy flanker Cian Prendergast also showed great hunger and ability on his first start for the province.

shane-delahunt-is-tackled Shane Delahunt is tackled. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Gavin Thornbury displayed his box-kick blocking talents against Munster, and he repeated the feat twice against Charlie Shiel, while a lineout steal from his second row partner Niall Murray helped Connacht to their opening try, which was finished well after four minutes O’Brien.

Jack Carty was on target with the conversion, and his tactical kicking continually pushed Edinburgh back on the hind foot in that first quarter, with the home side enjoying 90 per cent territorial dominance, aided by a couple of excellent breakdown turnovers by the in-form Thornbury.

But Edinburgh defended well in that spell too, and following a smart show-and-go from Chamberlin on half-way, a handful of tight phases resulted in a 31st minute try for Magnus Bradbury, although Chamberlin missed the extras.

With a Champions Cup spot already secured, Carty turned down three easy points a minutes from the break, and while their first shot at a driving lineout was illegally halted, Delahunt steered Connacht over for the second try their dominance deserved. Carty made it 14-5 at half-time with a tricky conversion.

With the rain beginning to sheet down to add to the terrible conditions, it was Connacht that enjoyed the upper hand, and the concession of needless penalties by Edinburgh helped them gain a foothold in the Edinburgh half.

An illegal shoulder charge by Butler on Andrew Davidson resulted in a red card for Butler in the 57th minute.

A late penalty by Chamberlin gave Edinburgh hope, before his 83rd minute score gave his side the victory.

a-view-of-a-scrum A view of the scrum in Galway. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Connacht scorers:

Tries:  O’Brien, S Delahunt

Conversions: J Carty (2/2)

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Edinburgh scorers:

Tries: M Bradbury, N Chamberlain

Conversions: N Chamberlain (1/2)

Penalties: N Chamberlain (1/1)

Connacht: Alex Wootton; Ben O’Donnell (Oran McNulty ’66), Sean O’Brien, Tom Daly, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion (Caolin Blade ’62); Denis Buckley (Jordan Duggan ’55), Shane Delahunt (Jonny Murphy ’59), Jack Aungier (Conor Kenny ’55); Niall Murray, Gavin Thornbury; Cian Prendergast (Abraham Papali’i ’49), Jarrad Butler, Eoghan Masterson.

Edinburgh: Damien Hoyland; Jack Blain (Charlie Savala ’68) , James Johnstone (Mark Bennett ’62, blood), George Taylor, Eroni Sau; Nathan Chamberlain, Charlie Shiel (Henry Pyrgos ’49); Pierre Schoeman (c) (Boan Venter ’24), Mike Willemse, Lee-Roy Atalifo (Angus Williams ’68); Magnus Bradbury (Jamie Hodgson ’69), Andrew Davidson (Jamie Hodgson ’57-69, HIA); Luke Crosbie (Mesu Kunavula ’59), Ally Miller, Bill Mata.

Referee: Chris Busby (IRFU).

About the author:

John Fallon

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