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Dublin: 5°C Friday 5 March 2021

Connacht's season goes up in smoke as Keane's men slip to five-try defeat in Wales

That’s now four straight defeats for the western province.

Peter Robb is tackled by three Ospreys players.
Peter Robb is tackled by three Ospreys players.
Image: Alex Davidson/INPHO

Ospreys 39

Connacht 10

CONNACHT’S SLIM CHAMPIONS Cup qualification hopes are over as they succumbed to a 39-10 loss to the Ospreys in Swansea tonight.

Tries from Jeff Hassler, Dan Evans, Scott Otten, Ashley Beck and Hanno Dirksen plus 14 points from the boot of Dan Biggar saw off Connacht, as Kieran Keane’s men slipped to their fourth consecutive defeat.

The western province did score one try, courtesy of Craig Ronaldson, but a sorry first season under Keane will end with a whimper.

Connacht did not achieve the start they would have hoped for as they were pinged for not rolling away at the breakdown which gave Wales out-half Biggar an opportunity to slot over a penalty from 47 metres out.

Dan Evans was sent to the sin bin for an intentional knock on, after Connacht had finally won some ball and Tiernan O’Halloran looked to spread it wide.

The visitors managed to build some pressure from the ensuing penalty but Ospreys wing Hassler intercepted a pass from Jack Carty to run in for the breakthrough try.

But Connacht hit back almost immediately when Ronaldson touched down from short range after a neat pass from openside flanker Jarrad Butler which came following a period of sustained pressure.

However, the former champions wilted under pressure as fullback Evans latched onto a well-timed flat pass from Biggar to touch down under the posts.

Carty hit over a penalty to cut the deficit to 10 points, meaning Connacht trailed 20-10 at the interval, but it was only to get worse for the visitors.

Hanno Dirkson scores a try Hanno Dirksen scored one of Ospreys' five tries. Source: Alex Davidson/INPHO

There was a moment of controversy at the beginning of the second half when a Carty penalty appeared to go through the posts, but much to his anger the flags stayed down with referee Ben Whitehouse refusing to refer the kick to the TMO.

Connacht’s frustration was then compounded when young Ospreys hooker Otten powered his way over from short range following a half-break from Biggar.

The Ospreys secured the try bonus-point when Biggar put Wales international centre Owen Watkin through a gap, who then offloaded to Beck who touched down for a score on his final appearance at the Liberty Stadium before moving to Worcester.

Connacht very nearly conceded a fifth try when Tom Habberfield ran on to a Hassler pass to run in unopposed, but upon referring to the TMO for a fourth time, Whitehouse disallowed the try as the final pass was forward.

But Dirksen crossed at the far left-hand corner after the home side upped the tempo with Biggar putting the South African winger over with a lovely pass.

Ospreys scorers:

Tries: Jeff Hassler, Dan Evans, Scott Otten, Ashley Beck, Hanno Dirksen
Conversions: Dan Biggar [4]
Penalties: Dan Biggar [2]

Connacht scorers:

Tries: Craig Ronaldson
Conversions: Craig Ronaldson
Penalties: Jack Carty

OSPREYS: D Evans; J Hassler, K Fonotia (O Watkin 54), A Beck, H Dirksen (S Davies 68); D Biggar, T Habberfield (Aubrey 65) ; N Smith, S Otten, M Fia (A Jeffries 65), B Davies, AW Jones (A Beard 69), G Mercer (M Morris 74), J King, S Cross.

Replacements not used: I Phillips, R Jones.

CONNACHT: T. O’Halloran; N. Adeolokun (D Leader 59), E. Griffin, P. Robb, M. Healy; J. Carty (Ronaldson 19-27, 54), K. Marmion (C Blade 57); D. Buckley (P McCabe 69), S. Delahunt (D Heffernan 62), C. Carey (Robertson-McCoy 62), U. Dillane, J. Cannon (G Thornbury 69), S. O’Brien (J Muldoon 23), J. Butler (capt), E. McKeon.

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