Sunday 18 November 2018

Adeolokun hat-trick helps Connacht secure home clash

Connacht 50 Oyonnax 14

Niyi Adeolokun scored three tries for Connacht. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Niyi Adeolokun scored three tries for Connacht. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Niyi Adeolokun turned on the style with a hat-trick to wrap up a home quarter-final in the European Challenge Cup as Top 14 strugglers Oyonnax were put to the sword at the Sportsground.

Connacht were superb from the outset and wasted little time in ramming home their superiority and had the bonus point wrapped up by the end of the opening quarter.

Kieran Keane's men were raging hot favourites but their failure to turn early dominance into scores has been a concern this season, but that wasn't long being corrected yesterday.

Adeolokun gave Kieran Keane's side a perfect start with two tries in three minutes. Kieran Marmion put fellow Irish squad member Bundee Aki over for the third try after 12 minutes, with Craig Ronaldson's conversion making it 19-0.

Oyonnax built a few phases and they were rewarded when Alex Muller finished off a sustained bout of pressure with a converted try after 17 minutes.

But the response from Connacht was excellent, with Tiernan O'Halloran securing the bonus point after less than 20 minutes when set up by Matt Healy. Adeolokun completed his hat-trick before the half-hour mark. And then Healy raced through to score in the left corner.

Daniel Ikpefan pulled back a try before the break to leave it 36-14 at the interval. Tom Farrell crossed for Connacht's seventh try after 67 minutes, with O'Halloran adding his second conversion after taking over the kicking duties from the injured Ronaldson. Connacht continued to turn the screw with a penalty try four minutes from the end.

Scorers - Connacht: N Adeolokun 3, B Aki, T O'Halloran, M Healy, T Farrell, Penalty tries; C Ronaldson 2, T O'Halloran 2, Penalty try cons. Oyonnax: A Muller, D Ikpefan tries; Fuertes, Hall cons.

Connacht: T O'Halloran; N Adeolokun (C Gallagher 73), E Griffin, B Aki (T Farrell 48), M Healy; C Ronaldson (C Kelleher 33), K Marmion (C Blade 48); D Coulson (P McCabe 70), D Heffernan (S Delahunt 55), C Carey (D Robertson-McCoy 49); U Dillane, Q Roux; E Masterson, N Dawai (J Connolly 55), J Muldoon.

Oyonnax: A Muller; D Ikpefan, U Seuteni, R Hansell-Pune, T Giresse (M Veau 66); A Fuertes (J Lima 35), J Hall (J Audy 57); K Vartanov (T Raynaud 51), Q MacDonald (B Geledan 51), T Laclayat (I Mirtskhulava 33-75); G Fabbri, S C Njewel (S Kerry 73); C Browning, B Taieb, T Tauleigne (L Barba 51).

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (England)

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