Sport Connacht Rugby

Saturday 21 April 2018

Connacht's European hopes crushed

Ospreys 39 Connacht 10

Connacht's Niyi Adeolokun is tackled by Ospreys' Scott Otten. Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht's Niyi Adeolokun is tackled by Ospreys' Scott Otten. Photo: Sportsfile

Connacht's slim Champions Cup qualification hopes disintegrated in Swansea as Kieran Keane's side were thrashed by the Ospreys.

Tries from Jeff Hassler, Dan Evans, Scott Otten, Ashley Beck and Hanno Dirksen plus 14 points from the boot of Dan Biggar saw off Connacht. Keane's side did score one try, courtesy of Craig Ronaldson.

Connacht's Craig Ronaldson. Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht's Craig Ronaldson. Photo: Sportsfile

Connacht did not achieve the start they would have hoped for as they were pinged for not rolling away at the breakdown which gave Wales out-half Biggar an opportunity to slot over a penalty from 47 metres out.

Dan Evans was then sent to the sin bin for an intentional knock-on. Connacht had finally won some ball when Evans tapped forward a pass from Tiernan O'Halloran. The visitors managed to build some pressure from the ensuing penalty but Ospreys wing Hassler intercepted a pass from Jack Carty to run in for the game's first try from 95 metres out.

But Connacht hit back almost immediately when Ronaldson touched down from short range after a neat pass from openside flanker Jarrad Butler which came following sustained pressure.

However, the former champions wilted under pressure as full-back Evans latched onto a well-timed flat pass from Biggar to touch down at the posts. Carty hit over a penalty to cut the deficit to 10 as Connacht trailed 20-10 at the interval.

Connacht's Eoin McKeon is tackled by Ospreys' Ma'afu Fia (left) and Sam Cross. Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht's Eoin McKeon is tackled by Ospreys' Ma'afu Fia (left) and Sam Cross. Photo: Sportsfile

There was controversy at the beginning of the second half when a Carty penalty appeared to go through the posts. But much to Carty's anger the flags stayed down with ref Ben Whitehouse refusing to refer the kick to the TMO.

Young Ospreys hooker Otten soon powered his way over from short range following a half-break from Biggar. This time Whitehouse did refer the decision to the TMO who duly awarded the try.

The Ospreys secured the try bonus point when Biggar put Wales international centre Owen Watkin through a gap and he then offloaded to Beck who touched down for a score on his final appearance at the Liberty Stadium.

Ospreys - D Evans; J Hassler, K Fonotia (O Watkin 54), A Beck, H Dirksen (S Davies 68); D Biggar, T Habberfield (Aubrey 65) ; N Smith, S Otten, M Fia (A Jeffries 65), B Davies, AW Jones (A Beard 69), G Mercer (M Morris 74), J King, S Cross.

Connacht's Jack Carty is approached by Ospreys' Scott Otten. Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht's Jack Carty is approached by Ospreys' Scott Otten. Photo: Sportsfile

Connacht - T O'Halloran; N Adeolokun (D Leader 59), E Griffin, P Robb, M Healy; J Carty (Ronaldson 19-27, 54), K Marmion (C Blade 57); D Buckley (P McCabe 69), S Delahunt (D Heffernan 62), C Carey (Robertson-McCoy 62), U Dillane, J Cannon (G Thornbury 69), S O'Brien (J Muldoon 23), J Butler (capt), E McKeon.

REF - B Whitehouse (Wales)

Connacht's Ultan Dillane is tackled by Ospreys' Dan Biggar. Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht's Ultan Dillane is tackled by Ospreys' Dan Biggar. Photo: Sportsfile

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