Sport Rugby

Sunday 22 April 2018

Connacht fall short yet again


A solid display from Connacht could not prevent a sixth defeat from seven league games as Pat Lam's side remain rooted to the foot of the Pro12 standings.

Played in shocking conditions, Connacht did well to claim a losing bonus point, but the search for their first win since their opening-day victory over Zebre continues.

With the gale at their backs, it was no surprise to see Warriors camp firmly inside the Connacht half for the opening action. After playing to the conditions superbly with five minutes of sustained phases, DTH van der Merwe stretched across the fallen Connacht defenders to touch down.

The effect of the conditions can not be exaggerated. In the ninth minute Dan Parks was forced to kick to the corner when his side were awarded a normally kickable penalty from in front of the posts and, when he finally took on the posts, it was from less than 20 metres after Glasgow wandered across the offside line.

Parks drilled the kick over to reduce the deficit to four points, but Weir replied in the 23rd minute with another fine kick from the right touchline after the Connacht tackler was penalised for not rolling away.

Warriors were lording the breakdown and seemed to be gaining massive yards after the tackle. In the 33rd minute their pressure told when the Connacht front row were penalised at a scrum under their own posts, and once more Weir made no mistake for a 13-3 lead.

Moments earlier Connacht were hit with a severe blow when in-form scrum-half Kieran Marmion limped off with a leg injury, but they seemed to be buoyed by the approaching half-time break and they summoned a good period of play that brought them into Warriors territory.

Connacht came agonisingly close to a try, with Rodney Ah You and Jake Heenan both coming close to crossing, but Glasgow held solid to take a 13-3 lead into the dressing-room.

Niko Matawalu was proving an elusive runner for the Connacht tacklers but, with the tempest at their backs, the home side were finding defending a little easier.

Six minutes after the restart Parks missed his third kick of the night from the left after another Glasgow offside, but five minutes later he made amends after another offside call, this time a far simpler kick from under the posts.

After Parks departed the action, Craig Ronaldson assumed the kicking duties and he made inroads on the scoreboard in the 61st minute, kicking a penalty awarded after Warriors wheeled the scrum.

He then missed the target with a more difficult kick, but cut the gap to just four points with 11 minutes remaining after another penalty won at the scrum. However, Weir restored Glasgow's seven-point lead late on.

Scorers – Connacht: Parks 2 pens, Ronaldson 2 pens. Glasgow Warriors: Van Der Merwe try; Weir 4 pens, 1 con.

Connacht: G Duffy; F Carr, D Leader, D McSharry, M Healy; D Parks (C Ronaldson 58), K Marmion (P O'Donohoe 27); B Wilkinson ((JP Cooney 76), J Harris-Wright (D Heffernan 55), R Ah You (N White 56); M Swift (c) (M Kearney 56), C Clarke; M Fifita, J Heenan, G Naoupu (A Muldowney 67).

Glasgow Warriors: N Matawalu; B McGuigan, M Bennett, G Ascarate, DTH Van Der Merwe; D Weir, C Cusiter (c); G Reid (M Low 56), D Hall (F Brown 62), J Welsh (E Kalman 47); J Gray (L Nakarawa 67), T Ryder; R Harley, C Fusaro (T Holmes 62), J Strauss (R Vernon 70).

Referee: N Paterson (SRU)

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