Tuesday 20 March 2018

Bedford punish sloppy Eagles

Bedford 50 Connacht Eagles 12

Any hopes that Connacht Eagles may have had of repeating last weekend's success over Bedford were emphatically snuffed out as they were soundly beaten.

Bedford have struggled for form in the English second tier but they were men on a mission after the Eagles defeated them 17-8 at the Sportsground the previous Saturday.

The visitors were on the back foot after only two minutes when Saracens loanee James Short finished down the left in impressive fashion after a flowing move.

A good spell of Connacht pressure then went unrewarded before Short ran in his second when Shane Layden was left wanting in a one-on-one situation.

Before the Eagles could react they were breached again when ex-Munster centre Corey Hircock rounded off a terrific move to take the score to 21-0 after just 24 minutes.

Nick Fenton-Wells sealed the bonus point for the hosts before Connacht finally got themselves on the board before half-time when Jack Carty's excellent cross-kick picked out Brian Murphy on the left wing.

The two sides exchanged scores after the restart as Charlie Clare bundled over for Bedford before a powerful driving maul by the Eagles following a line-out led to Aaron Conneely touching down.

But Nigel Carolan's side could make no further inroads as Jake Sharp kicked a penalty before Fenton-Wells claimed his second try when he dodged through more ineffective Connacht defence.

Bedford racked up their half-century with the final play of the game as Patrick Tapley hacked away a loose ball before sprinting away to get on the end of his own kick.

Bedford -- Pritchard; Tapley, Burke (Le Bourgeois 69), Hircock, Short; Sharp, Veenendaal (Calder 69); Fearn (Steenkamp 55), Clare (Harris 67), Cooper (Gliardon Paz 55); Howard (Jubb 19), Gulliver; Harding (Gillanders 61), Hankin, Fenton-Wells.

Connacht Eagles -- Layden (Parata 65); Panter, Finn (Leader 65), Murphy, Macauley; Carty, Walsh (Blade 49); Bealham, Heffernan (Rael 49), Meunargia (Walshe 69); Nolan, Qualter (Kindregan 32, Dillane 40); O'Brien, Conneely, Masterson.

Irish Independent

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