Porch on the double as Connacht power past Southern Kings

Bundee Aki opened the scoring just days after signing a new contract with the province.

John Porch scores Connacht's third try of the evening.
John Porch scores Connacht's third try of the evening.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Connacht 24

Isuzu Southern Kings 12

By DECLAN ROONEY at the Sportsground

BUNDEE AKI CROWNED his midweek contract extension by scoring the opening try as Connacht notched up their fifth win of the Guinness Pro14 campaign this season.

They will now head into their crunch Heineken Champions Cup double date with Gloucester in second place in Conference B, just a point off leaders Munster.

Connacht, despite just 32% possession, led 19-12 at the end of an entertaining opening half in front of a crowd of 5,146 on a bitterly cold evening at the Sportsground.

Two good Champions Cup performances saw Connacht go into the contest with plenty of confidence but it was the Southern Kings who dominated the early changes.

But while the Kings enjoyed 84% possession in the opening 10 minutes and forced Connacht into a tackle count of 33-2 in that period, they were unable to make it count where it mattered most with a combination of good defending and sloppy handling ensuring it remained scoreless.

And then Connacht showed them how to do in their first attack as Aki grounded after a good lineout maul and Conor Fitzgerald, who produced another huge performance, added the extras.

kyle-godwin Connacht's Kyle Godwin breaks through the defence. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

But the Kings hit back and got their reward when centre Erich Cronje scored despite the efforts of Eoghan Masterson and Paul Boyle after good pressure from the South Africans.

Connacht’s second try also came from a maul after a penalty to the right corner, with prop Finlay Bealham scoring his second try of the season.

Colby Fainga’a sent Fitzgerald away from halfway to set up Connacht’s third try after 29 minutes with scrum-half Caolin Blade also involved before Aki delivered the final pass for Aussie sevens player John Porch to score his first Connacht try.

Fitzgerald converted to push Connacht twelve clear but Kings were rewarded before the break with a try from Scott van Breda which the full-back then converted to leave it 19-12 at the interval.

It took Connacht less than three minutes after the restart to wrap up the bonus point when a good move involving Aki, Blade and Fitzgerald saw Matt Healy put Porch over for his second try to make it 24-12.

With the bonus point in the bag and both sides emptying their benches, the quality of the game deteriorated as it headed to an inevitable conclusion.

Connacht scorers: 

Tries: John Porch [2], Bundee Aki, Finlay Bealham

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Conversions: Conor Fitzgerald [2 from 4] 

Isuzu Southern Kings scorers:

Tries: Erich Cronje, Scott van Breda

Conversions: Scott van Breda [1 from 2]

CONNACHT: Matt Healy; Niyi Adeolokun, Kyle Godwin (Peter Robb ‘70), Bundee Aki, John Porch; Conor Fitzgerald (Jack Carty ‘51), Caolin Blade (Angus Lloyd ‘60); Denis Buckley (Matthew Burke ‘66), Tom McCartney (Shane Delahunt ‘59), Finlay Bealham (Dominic Robertson-McCoy ‘66); Ultan Dillane  (Joe Maksymiw ‘70), Quinn Roux; Eoghan Masterson, Colby Fainga’a, Paul Boyle (Jarrad Butler ‘59). 

ISUZU SOUTHERN KINGS: Scott van Breda; Christopher Hollis, Erich Cronje, Howard Mnisi (Sibusiso Sithole ‘46), Yaw Penxe; John-Thomas Jackson  (Siyabonga Masuku ‘73), Stefan Ungerer (Theo Maree ‘47); Juan Schoeman (Xandre Vos ‘73), Jacques du Toit (Chad Solomon ‘73), Pieter Scholtz (De-Jay Terblanche ‘67); Jerry Sexton, Aston Fortuin (Bobby de Wee ‘57); Martinus Burger (Ruaan Lerm ‘35), Thembelani Bholi, Elrigh Louw.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales).

Bernard Jackman and Murray Kinsella join Gavan Casey to discuss eye-gouging, Munster’s scrum-half situation, and the rest of the provincial news.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

About the author:

Declan Rooney

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