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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 11 December, 2019


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Good afternoon one and all and welcome along to the second billing in our Champions Cup triple header.

After last week’s defeat in Coventry, Pat Lam’s Connacht desperately need a victory in Galway this evening to get their campaign back on track.

It’s a crucial game in Pool 2 and we’re following every kick of the ball live from 5.30pm.

Our focus will be on Galway shortly, but there’s incredible drama between Leicester and Munster at Welford Road. Follow the closing stages here.

It’s full time at Welford Road, where Munster were denied a famous victory right at the death by Owen Williams’ superb long-range penalty. We’ll have a full report from our man Rory Keane to follow but for now our focus turns to the Sportsground.

Ryan Bailey here to guide you through all the action while it happens while Murray Kinsella is in position out west.

A general view of the Sportsground Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

With kick-off fast approaching, let’s take a final check on the teams.


15. Tiernan O’Halloran
14. Niyi Adeolokun
13. Rory Parata
12. Bundee Aki
11. Matt Healy
10. Jack Carty
9. Kieran Marmion

1. Denis Buckley
2. Tom McCartney
3. Finlay Bealham
4. Ultan Dillane
5. Quinn Roux
6. Eoin McKeon
7. Nepia Fox-Matamua
8. John Muldoon (captain)


16. Dave Heffernan
17. JP Cooney
18. Conor Carey
19. Lewis Stevenson
20. Sean O’Brien
21. Caolin Blade
22. Danie Poolman
23. Naulia Dawai


15. Rob Miller
14. Christian Wade
13. Brendan Macken
12. Kurtley Beale
11. Josh Bassett
10. Jimmy Gopperth
9. Joe Simpson

1. Matt Mullan
2. Tommy Taylor
3. Jake Cooper-Woolley
4. Joe Launchbury
5. Kearnan Myall
6. Ashley Johnson
7. Thomas Young
8. Nathan Hughes


16. Alex Rieder
17. Tom Bristow
18. Martin Moore
19. James Gaskell
20. Guy Thompson
21. Dan Robson
22. Alapati Leiua
23. Frank Halai

Final preparations in the sanctuary of the dressing rooms for the teams before they enter the atmospheric Sportsground. It’s a full house tonight on a perfect evening for rugby.

Let’s hope for a cracker!

Flag 1Mins

Kick-off! Jack Carty gets us underway and his deep kick is dropped by Ashley Johnson. Great opportunity here for Connacht inside the Wasps 22.


Couple of restarts and eventually Jerome Garces awards the penalty to the home side, with John Muldoon indicating straight away that they’re going for the posts.


But Carty’s effort is wide of the mark and the early opportunity to put points on the board is lost.


Despite Carty’s miss, it has been a positive start by Pat Lam’s side. Bundee Aki forces Wasps deep into their own half with a beautifully-weighted grubber kick in behind.


Superb work at the breakdown by Quinn Roux and he forces the turnover and then the penalty. Carty calls for the tee and he’ll have a crack from 40 metres out.


Penalty! Connacht 3-0 Wasps

And he nails it! Sweet strike from Carty and it dissects the posts to get Connacht up and running.


First attacking platform for Wasps here. Connacht try and run it out of their own 22 but are undone by a handling error from Matt Healy.

The hosts get the shove on from the scrum but when it comes out to Matt Simpson, he knocks it on in the tackle with opposite number Marmion. After all that, we’ll have a Connacht scrum.

Flag 14Mins

TRY! Connacht 3-7 Wasps (Simpson)

That’s superb from the visitors. Nathan Hughes powers through the Connacht defensive line and despite desperate attempts from Marmion to get back, he puts it on a plate for Simpson for his third European try of the season.


Incisive break from Jack Carty as Connacht look for an instant reply. He looks to spread it wide towards Adeolokun but a Wasps hand intervenes and the chance is gone.


Wasps’ turn to ask questions of the Connacht defence and they’re really applying the pressure here. Twice they’ve turned down the posts to go for the corner and the visitors are really knocking on the door.


Johnson powers towers the line but his held up just short by a number of Connacht bodies. Garces is on his knees trying to get a better view and in the end he awards a 5m scrum.


Yellow! Tiernan O’Halloran is sent to the bin and Connacht are under severe pressure.

From the scrum, Simpson made the initial dash and Gopperth looked to have been over but couldn’t quite find the offload before the Connacht fullback was then penalised for not rolling away.


But Muldoon wins a huge turnover right on his team’s line and from the resulting scrum, Carty can eventually clear to touch. We’re actually going back for a penalty to the hosts for offside.


Bosh! Connact have found themselves under severe pressure in the last 15 minutes but Ultan Dillane has just relieved some of it with a huge hit on Kurtley Beale.

The western province now on the front foot and they string a couple of phases together but are unable to find the end product before we go back for a penalty. Carty lining this one up.


Penalty! Connacht 6-7 Wasps

And he makes no mistake from close-range.


Unfortunately for Connacht and Matt Healy, the winger has been forced off after picking up an injury during that last passage of play. Danie Poolman the man on in his place.


Connacht back to a full deck as O’Halloran returns from the pin. One-point game after 34 minutes.


Fisticuffs! Marmion looks to snatch the ball and take a quick penalty but Simpson gets in the way and holds onto the ball. Connacht aren’t happy and a bit of a melee ensues. Referee steps in and calms it all down before it can escalate any further.


Try yes or no?

Connacht get the rolling maul going and barge their way over but we’ve no idea, nor does the referee, is that ball had been touched down.

‘We never see the ball,’ is Garces’ assessment to the TMO so we’ll restart with a Connacht scrum.


It would be the perfect time to score. Three minutes until the break.

Flag 39Mins

TRY! Connacht 13-7 Wasps (Poolman)

Oh yes, that’s beautifully done by Connacht. The pressure finally tells as Carty chips one across towards Poolman and the replacement does well to wait for the bounce of the ball to collect safely and dot down.

And Carty, from this near touchline, nails the coversion.

That was a thrilling half with both sides playing an attacking brand of rugby. Connacht found themselves on the back foot for a large chunk of it but were patient and found the breakthrough just before the interval.


Back underway in Galway!


Connacht look to go wide and stretch Wasps but Healy just runs out of room in front of the Clan Terrace. Bright start to the second half from the hosts.


Bundee is hit hard in midfield and he loses the ball in contact, but it’s a knock-on from the Wasps player and Connacht are rewarded the scrum. A bit of fortune there for the western province.


Again Bundee Aki barges through the first tackle and gets Connacht motoring but Wasps turn it over and manage to clear their lines, for now.


The pattern of this game has changed since Connacht’s try and it’s now the hosts who are enjoying all the possession. You feel they need to come away from this period of pressure with at least three points to show from it, however. Still knocking on the door.


Oh dear, Jimmy Gopperth. Uncharacteristic error from the Kiwi as he slices his kick out of play on the full and we’re coming all the way back to just outside the Wasps 22 for a Connacht scrum.


Wasps look rattled all of a sudden and Connacht need to make their territory count here. They have to start from deep again but make good ground down the left through O’Halloran and McKeon.


After soaking up all that pressure, Wasps now have the chance to reduce the deficit. Connacht are pinged for not rolling away and Gopperth calls for the tee.


Penalty! Connacht 13-10 Wasps (Gopperth)

No mistake from the former Leinster out-half and Connacht’s lead is down to three.


Couple of changes to tell you about. Sean O’Brien is on for Connacht with McKeon making way while Wasps have brought Dan Robson on for Joe Simpson.


Frustration for Connacht as they’ve struggled to make this territory count. On that occasion, Joe Launchbury comes through to steal it quite brilliantly and the hosts have to start again.

Quinn Roux then drops it and the collective groans around the Sportsground get louder.


Nasty head collision as Niyi Adeolokun is hit by Jake Cooper-Woolley and both players are down. We’re going up to the TMO to see if there was any malice in the tackle.


The Wasps prop goes off for a HIA but doesn’t face any punishment for that tackle. It was just woefully executed and he paid the price. Marty Moore on in his place.

We’re restarting with a Connacht scrum but Wasps get the push on and force the penalty. Gopperth has the chance to level proceedings.


But Gopperth misses! It was a little bit further out and from the angle, his effort strikes the outside of the post. Let-off for Connacht.


Wasps are beginning to turn the screw now and they’ve gone through 16 phases, looking to find a hole in the Connacht defensive wall. The hosts standing firm so far but they’ve been under the cosh in the last 10 minutes.


But they force the error! Rob Miller comes in to play scrum half but fumbles the ball at the base of the ruck. Muldoon has a word with the referee and everyone catches their breath. 16 minutes left on the clock.


Penalty! Connacht 13-13 Wasps (Gopperth)

No mistake from Gopperth this time as he brings Wasps level.


Pat Lam looks on with a worried expression all over his face. His side have yet to register a point in this half and have shown little or no attacking flair either. This game is still going either way but the balance of power has shifted towards Wasps.


Danger for Connacht. Wasps pushing for the knockout blow here as they go through the phases and inch their way closer to the line.


But just when they find themselves under the cosh, Connacht force the turnover and win the scrum! That was high-class from Wasps and it looked like Bassett was in on this near side but Adeolokun made a fine tackle.

Kieran Marmion is tackled by Tommy Taylor and Joe Launchbury Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Flag 74Mins

TRY! Connacht 13-18 Wasps (Bassett)

They find a way over this time. The power of the Wasps pack created that try as they win the scrum against the head and Robson fires it wide for Bassett to dot down in the corner.

Gopperth drags the conversion attempt.


All happening in Galway. Jerome Garces is unable to continue after pulling his hamstring in the build-up to that try. After a brief stoppage, we’re back underway with a new man in charge.


Connacht need to produce something special now. Into the fifth phase of possession and Dillane charges into the tackle — but he’s isolated and Wasps snatch it. Into the final minute…


LAST CHANCE! Connacht win the penalty 10 metres from the Wasps line. With a bonus point in the bag, they kick for the corner and win the line-out. The clock has gone red.

Flag 82Mins

TRY! Connacht 18-18 Wasps (Naulia Dawai)

Oh yes! Brilliant from Connacht as they get the rolling maul going and Dawai, on European debut, finishes it off in the corner. Carty to kick for the win…

Flag 83Mins


From the right touchline, Carty absolutely nails it to spark jubilant scenes in Galway! Unbelievable.

Pitch invasion at the Sportsground as Connacht, somehow, keep their European campaign alive with the most dramatic of victories. What a kick from Jack Carty in the most testing of circumstances!

About the author:

Ryan Bailey