Thursday 22 February 2018

Connacht recovery mission falls short

John Fallon

Connacht fell to a seventh successive league defeat when a brave fightback came up just short at the Sportsground.

The concession of two converted tries early in the second half proved very costly for Pat Lam's men against a Scarlets side without 10 internationals. Connacht enjoyed the bulk of the possession in the opening half but still went in trailing by 10-9 at the interval.

Scarlets stepped on the gas in the second half and bagged two tries off lineout drives. Hooker Kirby Myhill crossed over after a good take by George Earle, and Gareth Davies scored his third try of the campaign on 53 minutes after another good drive. Aled Thomas converted both touchdowns to put Scarlets 24-9 up.

Connacht got a break after 56 minutes when Matt Healy broke from inside his own half to sprint home for his third try of the campaign, with Ronaldon converting.

After Aaron Shingler was yellow-carded, Connacht went to the corner with the penalty and Jason Harris-Wright scored after they mauled their way over to make it 24-21. Dan Parks pulled the conversion from the right just wide. Connacht piled on the pressure after that, but Scarlets held out.

Scorers – Connacht: M Healy, J Harris-Wright try each, C Ronaldson 3 pens, 1 con; Scarlets: F Climo, K Myhill, G Davies tries; A Thomas 3 cons, 1 pen

Connacht: G Duffy (F Carr 65); D Leader, E Griffin, D McSharry, M Healy; C Ronaldson (D Parks 57), K Marmion (F Murphy 77); B Wilkinson (R Loughney 34), S Henry (J Harris-Wright 55), N White (R Ah You 55); M Swift (M Kearney 61), C Clarke; A Muldowney, J Heenan, E Masterson (G Naoupu 61).

Scarlets: G Owen; F Climo, G Maule, A Warren, N Reynolds; A Thomas, G Davies (A Davies 71); P John (capt) (S Hopkins 79), K Myhill, J Adriaanse; J Ball, G Earle; A Shingler, J Turnbull, S Timani (I Jones 27-36) (D Thomas 76).

Referee: M Liperini (FIR)

Sunday Independent

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