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Connacht stage second-half comeback to pick up pre-season win in France

Conor Fitzgerald came off the bench to score nine points as Andy Friend’s side beat Oyonnax.

Peter Robb in action at the Stade Charles Mathon.
Peter Robb in action at the Stade Charles Mathon.
Image: Jean Francois Basset/INPHO

Oyonnax 13

Connacht 14

IF LAST SEASON was Conor Fitzgerald’s breakthrough year at Connacht, then, going by the early evidence, the next 12 months could very well see the young out-half come of age in a green jersey.

Promoted from the academy to a professional contract off the back of six first-team appearances last term, Fitzgerald stepped off the bench to guide Connacht to victory in their opening pre-season fixture of the summer.

Andy Friend’s side trailed Top 14 outfit Oyonnax by seven points at the break before the introduction of the 21-year-old turned the game for the western province, with Fitzgerald scoring nine points in a hard-fought 14-13 win in France. 

Colby Fainga’a's try shortly after the break brought Connacht back on level terms after Eric Millet’s first-half score, before Fitzgerald’s seven-pointer secured victory for the visitors at the Stade Charles Mathon.

Both Ultan Dillane and Finlay Bealham were involved at various stages following the disappointment of their release from Ireland’s World Cup training squad, as Friend looked to give all of his 30-man travelling squad game-time. 

Ahead of their Pro14 opener against Scarlets, Connacht finalise their preparations with a second friendly against Munster in Galway on Saturday 21 September.

Oyonnax scorers:

Tries: Eric Millet 
Conversions: Lionel Beauxis [1 from 1]
Penalties: Yohan Le Bourhis [1 from 1]. 

Connacht scorers:

Tries: Colby Fainga’a, Conor Fitzgerald 
Conversions: Conor Fitzgerald [2 from 2].

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OYONNAX: 15. Joffrey Michel, 14. Dug Codjo, 13. Eric Millet, 12. Gabiriel Lovobalavu, 11. Aurélien Callandret, 10. Lionel Beauxis, 9. Jérémy Gondrand; 1. Tommy Raynaud, 2. Benjamin Geledan, 3. Irakli Mirtskhulava, 4. Thibault Lassalle, 5. Valentin Ursache, 6. Etienne Herjean, 7. Rory Grice, 8. Bilel Taieb.

CONNACHT: 15. Darragh Leader, 14. Niyi Adeolokun, 13. Kyle Godwin, 12. Peter Robb, 11. Matt Healy, 10. David Horwitz, 9. Caolin Blade (captain); 1. Matthew Burke, 2. Tom McCartney, 3. Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 4. Ultan Dillane, 5. Joe Maksymiw, 6. Seán Masterson, 7. Paul Boyle, 8. Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Rory Burke, Cillian Gallagher, Gavin Thornbury, Eoghan Masterson, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler, Angus Lloyd, Conor Fitzgerald, Tom Daly, Seán O’Brien, John Porch, Tiernan O’Halloran.

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Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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