Tuesday 24 October 2017

Elwood sees positives after Connacht dig deep to claim crucial points

Connacht 13, Scarlets 11, John Fallon

Connacht need to make hay while other clubs are decimated due to the World Cup and Eric Elwood's men did that in a scrappy affair at the Sportsground on Saturday.

The fact that there is clearly room for improvement will encourage Elwood as they made it two Pro12 wins from two, showing great composure to come from eight points down with just over a quarter of the game left.

"We weren't anywhere near our best, but at the end of the day while it wasn't a great performance, we got the result," he said. "Credit has to go to the boys, we were under pressure to get the next score. So we dug it out, got ourselves back into the game and thankfully we were able to kill off the game at the end."

His side trailed 6-3 at the break with Dan Newton landing two penalties for Scarlets and Matthew Jarvis responding before the break for Connacht.

"There were some infringements where we were going early in the scrum, but there was a bit of a penalty-fest at the breakdown and scrum-time, so we just couldn't get any flow," said Elwood.


"You don't get too much of the ball and when we did get it we maybe didn't show the composure that we should have," he added.

Connacht suffered a blow when Scarlets lock Aaron Shingler bundled over in the left corner after 47 minutes to make it 11-3.

"We lost those sort of games last year so it is nice to be able to win them," said Elwood. "I know we have only played two but to win our first game at home is important to everybody. We are happy with the four points, but that is as far as I'll go."

No 8 George Naoupu, back for his second spell with Connacht, had a storming second half, while new centre Henry Fa'afili burst through to send former Ulster winger Mark McCrea over for the crucial score of the game after 59 minutes.

Jarvis converted and it was left to another ex-Ulster player, replacement out-half Niall O'Connor, to nail the match-winner with a penalty from 25 metres with 13 minutes left.

Connacht -- G Duffy; M McCrea, E Griffin, H Fa'afili, T O'Halloran; M Jarvis, F Murphy; R Loughney, A Flavin, R Ah You; M Swift, M McCarthy; J Muldoon, R Ofisa, G Naoupu. Reps: E Reynecke for Flavin (52), B Wilkinson for Loughney (61), N O'Connor for Jarvis (61), TJ Anderson for Muldoon (69), P O'Donohoe for Murphy (69). Yellow card: Swift (52).

Scarlets -- D Evans; L Williams, R Gomer Davies, G Maule, L Williams; D Newton, R Tipuna; I Thomas, E Phillips, R Thomas; A Shingler, D Day; R McCusker, J Turnbull, B Morgan. Reps: A Thomas for D Evans (44), R Williams for Tipuna (57), L Reed for Day (57), J Edwards for Morgan (60), S Gardiner for R Thomas (76), K Myhill for Phillips (76). Yellow card: McCusker (52).

Ref -- M Mitrea (FIR)

Irish Independent

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