Saturday 21 September 2019

WATCH: Did you miss the stunning Jack Carty try that inspired Connacht to crucial win in France?

Brive 31 Connacht 38

Jack Carty scores the try
Jack Carty scores the try
Jack Carty of Connacht. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

It's not the first time that Connacht have kept their season alive by doing well in the European Challenge Cup, and Saturday's win in Brive leaves them not only on the cusp of a quarter-final spot but firmly in control of nailing home advantage in that clash at the end of March.

Brive made a dozen changes to the side which defeated Oyonnax in a key Top 14 relegation match last week but, as often happens, they played on impulse.

They had beaten Connacht in the sides' two previous clashes at Stade Amédée-Domenech in the Challenge Cup without scoring a try but running in five on Saturday wasn't enough to see them across the line this time.

Instead, a 23-point haul from Jack Carty was the difference, with the out-half scoring a stunning try after 49 minutes to turn the game firmly in Connacht's direction when he broke from halfway and sprinted home after an exquisite dummy pass.

"Some really good performances," said coach Kieran Keane. "We made a few mistakes and we had trouble getting out of our 22 again. But all in all, Jack and a few of the other boys played well."

And after successive Guinness PRO14 defeats way to Cardiff Blues and Zebre and only three wins in ten games in that competition, Keane is determined not to let his side lose the run of themselves when Brive come to the Sportsground next Saturday.

"We won't get too ahead of ourselves, we will deal with the next game, it is an important game as this one was for the Challenge Cup," he said.

"We will just enjoy the moment. It's been some fairly tough times recently."

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Brive became the 12th French side that Connacht have beaten away from home, while the 38 points scored on Saturday night is the Westerners' biggest return on French soil - their 43-15 win over Oyonnax in October was played in Geneva.

But it was far from comfortable, and the sin-binning of John Muldoon looked costly as Brive struck for 14 points in the skipper's absence to lead by 19-3 after 25 minutes. However, Connacht hit back before the break with Ultan Dillane and Kieran Marmion scoring to leave it 19-17 at the break.

Edging

The lead changed hands three times in the opening nine minutes of the second-half with man of the match Carty edging Connacht back in front with a penalty before Brive's Portuguese hooker Mike Tadjer got his second try.

But then Carty broke from deep for a superb try through the middle on his way after 49 minutes and Connacht didn't look back after that.

Cian Kelleher wrapped up the bonus point after being set up by the impressive Tiernan O'Halloran and with Bundee Aki also making an impact, as Connacht sealed a deserved win.

Keane said the tries before the interval were crucial and he said he felt that the match had turned back in their favour by then.

"It was just a matter of convincing the rest of the boys. When I arrived at the changing-rooms they had already decided that things were okay.

"The last try before half-time really was a sign of what was within the team. It was a good win," added Keane.

After next Saturday's clash with Brive, Connacht will wrap up their pool after Christmas away to Worcester Warriors and home to Oyonnax.

In between they will get a chance to rescue their PRO14 campaign with derby clashes against Ulster, Leinster and Munster.

Brive - G Germain (M Ugalde 66); N Megdoud, S Galala (A Mafi 55), B Petre, G Namy; T Laranjeira, F Cazenave (D Delarue 66); J Brugnaut (SP Chauvac 60), M Tadjer (L Martin 72), D Bamba (J Johnston 48); J Snyman (P Marais 63), J Uys; P Luafutu (F Sanconnie 40), D Waqaniburotu, P Hauman.

Connacht - T O'Halloran (D Leader 72); C Kelleher, P Ahki, B Aki, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley (P McCabe 60), S Delahunt (T McCartney 63), F Bealham (C Carey 49); U Dillane, Q Roux (J Cannon 77); C Gallagher, E Masterson, J Muldoon.

Ref - C Maxwell-Keys (England).

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