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Connacht slaughter of the Ulster innocents


Connacht’s Ultan Dillane.   Photo: Sportsfile

Connacht’s Ultan Dillane. Photo: Sportsfile

Connacht’s Ultan Dillane. Photo: Sportsfile

Conference A Connacht did themselves The Scarlets, Leinster and even Edinburgh, all in Conference B, a favour by taking Ulster's lambs to the slaughterhouse (44-16) that The Sportsground became on Saturday night.

These two Irish provinces took their back-to-back victories in Europe as a boost not just to their confidence on a second front, but, also, to their first front in the PRO14 League.

It turns out Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss may have been looking at a false dawn, while Kieran Keane's Connacht might just be on the rise.

The strange reality for the Western Province is that they have won just four of 11 in the League and, yet, they still have a positive points-difference (+4).

All four of their wins have come accompanied by a bonus-point.

It will be interesting to see how Keane approaches the New Year's Day cross-country drive to Leinster.

They are beginning to figure it out as the usually low-scoring Inter-provincial was turned into something of a highlight reel with Connacht hitting Ulster for six tries.

The expanded crowd, officially numbered at 7,629, was treated to a gold standard performance with Ireland lock Ultan Dillane leading the way with two tries.

There was also a first try for Australian flanker Jarrad Butler and first of the season for another Ireland international in Bundee Aki.

Full-back Tiernan O'Halloran celebrated his two-year contract extension with a fine effort and Eoghan Masterson was first off the mark in the third minute.

For Ulster, they had taken two steps forward in Europe only to be followed by one giant backwards step in the PRO14.