Saturday 18 August 2018

Connacht denied by last-minute penalty

Cheetahs 26 Connacht 25

Caolin Blade of Connacht gets tackled Photo: Sportsfile
Caolin Blade of Connacht gets tackled Photo: Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Connacht had victory snatched from their grasp with the last kick of the game as Matt Healy's two tries were not enough to clinch the points in Bloemfontein.

An stoppage-time penalty from Niel Marais gave Cheetahs the win after Eoin Griffin and Healy had hauled Connacht back into the game following a slow start in the altitude of Toyota Stadium.

Eoin Griffin of Connacht scores his side's third try Photo: Sportsfile
Eoin Griffin of Connacht scores his side's third try Photo: Sportsfile

Kieran Keane's side were ten points behind early on, but with Jack Carty and Sean O'Brien in excellent form they began to gain a foothold, only for Sibhale Maxwane's late try and Marias's boot to deny the Westerners.

Cheetahs were sharp from the off and Uzair Cassiem's try put them ahead, with Marais kicking the conversion and a penalty. Healy cut the gap after Caolin Blade and Pita Ahki linked well off a scrum, and Carty adding the extras. Marais added two more penalties, either side of Healy's second try, before Carty kicked a monster from his own half to make it 16-15 to the visitors at the interval.

Carty gave Connacht the lead two minutes after the restart, then it was his show-and-go that broke the defensive line as Griffin raced in to stretch the lead to nine points. But Maxwane's try and Marais's boot foiled them.

James Cannon of Connacht wins a lineout Photo: Sportsfile
James Cannon of Connacht wins a lineout Photo: Sportsfile

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