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Connacht claw back 14-point deficit, but suffer dramatic late loss to Ospreys

Cory Allen spilled the ball short of the line, but the TMO ruled the ball went backwards and allowed the winning score.

Ospreys 22

Connacht 17

Alex Bywater reports from Morganstone Brewery Field

CONNACHT PAID FOR a poor start and their failure to convert pressure into points as they suffered a last-gasp defeat in their Guinness PRO14 clash with the Ospreys in Bridgend.

It was a poor result for Andy Friend’s side given their inclusion of the likes of Bundee Aki, Ultan Dillane and Tiernan O’Halloran, but at least they went home with something to show for their efforts. Ospreys, by contrast to their opponents, were without their Wales autumn international contingent – save for Dan Lydiate – but still proved too good with Keelan Giles scoring twice.

Harri Randall also crossed the whitewash and although Aki and captain Jarrad Butler helped Connacht level the game, they were beaten at the death.

Cory Allen sprinted clear and although he was stopped short and lost the ball, TMO Neil Paterson decided it had gone backwards and gave the score after Dan Evans grounded.

Bundee Aki tackled by Dan Lydiate Bundee Aki wrapped up by Ospreys. Source: Alex Davidson/INPHO

Giles ensured it was a nightmare start for Connacht with two tries in the first nine minutes. First, the Ospreys worked the short side of a ruck and when the electric wing picked the ball up, he chipped ahead and collected his own grubber to open the scoring.

Andy Friend’s visitors simply hadn’t got started and soon Giles had his second. The Ospreys were dominant and this time it was Davies who cross-kicked to the corner for the try.

Davies was unable to add either conversion attempt from wide out. At that stage there was only one team in it but although Connacht responded well, they were unable to convert their pressure into points.

Carty slotted a simple drop goal, but after that Friend’s men were twice held up over the line by strong Ospreys defence. From the second of those occasions, Connacht were then penalised for crossing from the reset scrum which summed up their first-half wastefulness.

Andy Friend Andy Friend. Source: Alex Davidson/INPHO

Ospreys No 8 Rob McCusker was yellow carded for a high tackle on Cian Kelleher when the game restarted. It gave Connacht a man advantage, but again silly individual errors held them back.

Tom McCartney’s line-out throw went astray and the Ospreys made them pay. The lively Giles was again involved, but this time it was centre Cory Allen with the incisive break.
Allen scythed through some poor Connacht tackling and found 18-year-old scrum-half Morgan – on his first PRO14 start – inside him. The youngster did the rest and this time, Davies converted.

Connacht now had to chase the game. They finally got their first try of the night from Aki following another forward surge and Carty kicked the goal.

The comeback was then complete as with Connacht in the ascendancy, their captain Butler dived over from close to a ruck. Carty’s conversion tied the game.

There was still time for late drama though as Carty put a drop goal effort wide and Allen ran for the line. He was stopped short, but the ball was spilled backwards and Evans pounced for the winning score which was confirmed by TMO Neil Paterson.

Scorers

Ospreys

Tries: Giles 2, 9, Randall 52, Evans 80
Conv: Davies 53

Connacht

Tries: Aki 65, Butler 70
Convs: Carty 66, 71
Drop goal: Carty 13

Ospreys: Evans; Dirksen, Allen, Thomas-Wheeler, Giles (Williams 69); Davies, Morgan; Jones (Thomas 71), Otten (Baldwin 62), Botha (Jeffries 71), Ashley (Ratti 69), King, Lydiate, Cracknell, McCusker (Ratti 37-40)

Connacht: O’Halloran; Adeolokun (Godwin 55), Farrell, Aki, Kelleher; Carty, Marmion (Blade 50); Buckley (O’Donnell 79), McCartney (Delahunt 57), Bealham (Carey 67), Dillane, Roux (Cannon 69), O’Brien, Boyle (Faingaa 11)

Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)


Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

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