Thursday 26 April 2018

Elwood anxious to tighten Connacht defence after frustrating Saracens loss

Connacht coach Eric Elwood wants his side to stop coughing up soft scores after conceding 10 tries in their two pre-season games.

Elwood said that while he was happy with the improvements from the 40-7 loss to Harlequins, he was disappointed with some of the tries they conceded against Saracens at the Sportsground on Saturday night.

"We have two weeks to get these things right. Hopefully, the team will be nice and fresh for our first Magners League game against the Dragons, which is a must-win game for us here at the Sportsgound," Elwood said.

"Though we let in some soft scores, we will take the positives out of it and if that helps us prepare for Dragons in two weeks, we'll be happy."

Connacht were well in contention entering the final quarter, but tries from Kameli Ratuvou and Kelly Brown saw Saracens pull away.

Saracens led 5-0 at the break thanks to a try from lock Mouritz Botha in the 12th minute. Connacht had chances to reduce the deficit, but out-half Miah Nikora missed the target with a couple of penalties from inside the 10-metre line.

Saracens pushed further ahead 10 minutes after the restart with a penalty try after Connacht were penalised for collapsing the scrum deep inside their 22.

But Connacht were up for the battle and after Saracens replacement George Kruis was sin-binned for his involvement in a scuffle, some incessant pressure from the home side finally told when hooker Adrian Flavin touched down in the right corner.

Nikora missed the conversion and straight from the restart, Saracens wrapped up the win when Ratuvou cantered over. Saracens piled on further agony when Brown crossed late on for another try.

Connacht -- T O'Halloran, T Nathan, N Ta'auso, E Griffin, F Carr, M Nikora (D Fanning 70), F Murphy (K Willis 52); R Loughney (B Wilkinson h-t), A Flavin, J Hagan, M Swift, B Upton, A Browne (M McComish 44), R Ofisa (S Conneely 57), E Taylor.

Saracens -- A Goode (R Penny 35), C Wyles, A Powell (K Ratuvou h-t), B Barritt, N Cato, D Hougaard, N de Kock (R Wigglesworth h-t); D Carstens, S Brits (R Gill h-t), R Skuse, H Vyvyn, M Botha, K Brown, J Burger, E Joubert (P du Plessis h-t).

Ref -- P Fitzgibbon (IRFU).

Irish Independent

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