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Elwood claims Connacht are 'back on the horse' after thumping win over Dragons

Try-scoring forward George Naoupu is expected to be fit for the Harlequins match after he was taken off on 31 minutes.

Rob Henshaw takes the aerial route to claim the ball ahead of Hallam Amos.
Rob Henshaw takes the aerial route to claim the ball ahead of Hallam Amos.
Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

CONNACHT WERE NOT able to secure their second try bonus point of the season on Saturday but the home supporters loudly voiced the approval at the end of their 30-11 win.

Dan Parks got back to kicking form, landing 15 points, and there were tries for George Naoupu, Danie Poolman and a penalty try.

Connacht had 26 minutes to cobble together a meaningful chance to claim the bonus point but, instead, it was Dragons’s scrum-half Jonathan Evans who got the last try of the match.

The result puts the westerners within touching distance of ninth place Edinburgh and will give them hope that they can climb the league table when Pro12 action resumes in February.

Speaking to connachtrugby.ie after the victory, Elwood expressed his satisfaction at his side’s first half efforts.

“30 minutes gone, we dominated possession, played some great rugby and got those two tries,” said Elwood.

Injury setback

The other blip, apart from the non-appearance of the fourth try, was the injury sustained by Naoupu after 31 minutes that saw him leave the field of play.

Elwood commented, “With George’s injury we lost that little bit of momentum with the break in the game.

“There was a swing and Dragons got a push at the end of that first half. But we went in in a positive frame of mind at half time.

I’m delighted that all the hard work the lads are doing paid off tonight to get them the reward.”

Naoupu’s wife took to Connacht’s Facebook page after the match to assuage fears of a serious injury, saying he was taken off as a precautionary measure.

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He added, “We’re a little bit disappointed not to get the bonus point. But at the end of the day, we got a good victory at home, it was a lovely evening for rugby and we had a great crowd of supporters.

Quins

Next up on the fixture list for Connacht is the sixth chapter of an interesting rivalry with Premiership champions Harlequins.

Having clashed in the Amlin Cup in 2010/11 and split their Heineken Cup matches last season, Conor O’Shea’s Harlequins hold the edge this season after a Danny Care-inspired victory at the Sportsground.

Elwood said, “We’re back on the horse now and it gives us that momentum and confidence going over to Harlequins next week.

We’re playing the English champions who, at the top of our group, are just getting better and better. It will be a difficult game for us but tonight is the win that we were looking for and it gives us something to build on going to London.

“We played some great rugby out here against Harlequins in October and lost 22-30. It’s a different proposition with them at home but we want to play our game.

“It’s going to be another challenge but we’re going there in a good frame of mind.”

The Connacht victory was not screened live on television at the weekend so here are some match highlights:

YouTube credit: RaboDirectPRO12

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Patrick McCarry

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