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Dublin: 1°C Thursday 6 May 2021

Friend hails Carty's class after 14-man Connacht come through Kings test

The Roscommon man showed astute game management and also scored eight crucial points after the Kings had pulled level.

Image: Richard Huggard/INPHO

CONNACHT HEAD COACH Andy Friend lauded the character of his team following a bonus point 29-19 Guinness PRO14 win over the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth yesterday.

This despite having to play with just 14 men on the park for the majority of the game after Peter Robb, on the field just six minutes after replacing Matt Healy, received his marching orders for leading into a carry with his forearm.

While Robb did lead with the elbow, he made contact to the chest of Howard Mnisi, before sliding up to the head and neck region. Despite the TMO, Christie du Preez, pointing out that the impact was to the chest of Mnisi, referee Cwengile Jadezweni proceeded to reach for the 16th-minute red.

Connacht remained composed throughout the match, even when they were reduced to 13 men by further yellow cards, and managed to keep the hosts on the back-foot. Fly-half Jack Carty was outstanding in the way he kept putting the ball behind the Kings, while the captain, Jarrad Butler, led by example.

Source: PRO14 Rugby/YouTube

Friend was happy with the way in which his team managed to control the game, especially against a team that had the numerical advantage for most of the game.

“I am really proud of the boys. We had a moment where we had 13 players on the field and we leaked 14 points, and there at the end of the game, it was another moment with 13 men on the field.

“Knowing that the Kings are tough at home, and going down with one man for a long period of time, and two men at different periods of time, I’m very proud that we found a way to win the game.

I thought Jack Carty’s game management was outstanding. He just found that back-right pocket and kept turning them and didn’t give them access to the game.

“We call our reserves the bouncers and when they came on they were outstanding too. I will pay a compliment to our skipper, Jarred Butler. I thought he was brilliant.

“On a hot day like this, which we are not used to, because we don’t get much sunshine in Galway, I thought that there was a lot of character shown out there.”

jack-carty-scores-a-try Carty touches down early in the second half. Source: Richard Huggard/INPHO

Friend conceded that he felt that the Robb’s red card was harsh, but remained diplomatic in his view of how it was handled by the officials.

“I think what is happening at the moment is that we are looking at protecting the player, and is something that we need to do. The angles that I saw, and I could also hear the TMO saying that it hit him on the chest and it started moving up.

“The referee saw a different angle and that is rugby at the minute, and we have to wear that. We did wear that and we managed to find a way through.”

The win sends Connacht into the three-week break as the fourth-placed team in Pro14 Conference B, two points behind Scarlets in the play-off places.

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Morgan Piek

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