Monday 19 November 2018

Godwin helps Connacht to winning start

Connacht 22 Bordeaux-Begles 10

The Connacht scrum. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
The Connacht scrum. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Kyle Godwin scored tries in each half as Connacht got their Challenge Cup campaign off to a solid start. The home win was rarely in doubt, but they still needed a late Finlay Bealham try to be sure of the win after Bordeaux-Begles' Afa Amosa crashed over on 52 minutes to put a converted try between the teams.

In the end Andy Friend's side eased to the win, although a head injury to the lively Peter McCabe and Conor McKeon's shoulder injury were the big negatives from an impressive display.

Jack Carty of Connacht. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Jack Carty of Connacht. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

The opening try came off the back of a strong scrum from Connacht and Jack Carty then ate up the yards with a good kick to the corner. Colby Fainga'a's strong carry off the top was followed by a couple more from McCabe, and after the loosehead was stopped short, Godwin finished the job.

Having missed his last kick against Ulster to bring an end to his 11-in-a-row streak, Carty got back in the groove with the conversion for a 7-0 lead. And he then stretched his side's lead 16 minutes from the interval following a high tackle on Eoin Griffin.

Just before the break a stray pass from Connacht put them on the back foot, and after prop Thierry Paiva forced the penalty, Lucas Meret slotted the easy kick to cut the gap to 10-3 at the interval.

A turnover from Conan O'Donnell set Connacht on the way to their second try early in the second half, the first-phase score eventually coming off a scrum on the left when Godwin dived on the loose ball.

Cian Kelleher of Connacht in action against Beka Gorgadze of Bordeaux Begles. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Cian Kelleher of Connacht in action against Beka Gorgadze of Bordeaux Begles. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

With a convincing lead it seemed as if Connacht would ease their way to a comfortable win, but Bordeaux-Begles pulled to within a score when Amosa scored off the back of a scrum. Amosa had come within inches moments earlier, but Robin Copeland illegally halted his progress and earned a yellow card.

After nearly an hour of feigned interest in this game suddenly Bordeaux began to show real hunger, but the home side sealed the win in the 67th minute when Bealham scored off a rolling maul.

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