Sunday 18 March 2018

O'Connor's kick halts Connacht slide

Connacht 13 Glasgow Warriors 13

John Fallon

Connacht's nine-match losing run in the PRO12 was brought to a dramatic end last night at the Sportsground when Niall O'Connor landed a last-gasp penalty to tie the match.

It was no more than Connacht deserved, but for long periods it seemed they would again be lamenting another loss despite having a winning hand.

Connacht are still without a win in the competition since September but they will hope for a strong finish to the season with four of their remaining seven games at home.

They should have won this clash against a poor Glasgow side, but in the end were fortunate to escape with anything from the contest.

O'Connor landed the penalty to end the losing run when he did well to hold his nerve from 25 metres on the right, having been off target with his first two penalties.

But he came good when it mattered most against a Glasgow side who have only won once in Galway.

Connacht had the strong wind at their backs in the opening half and were in trouble when they trailed 7-3 at the interval.

But they never used the wind to kick to the corners and instead tried to build phases in midfield, which Glasgow had little trouble in dealing with.

Connacht enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening quarter but some dreadful passing and handling prevented them from mounting anything tangible. And with O'Connor landing just one from three penalties, Connacht were unable to build a platform.

O'Connor was off target with a penalty from 30 metres on the left after seven minutes, which would have settled the home side in their quest for a first win in the competition since September.

Glasgow hit back and built a few phases and they looked more dangerous on the break, although scrumhalf Henry Pyrgos was off target with a drop goal chance after 17 minutes.

O'Connor failed to convert another penalty, an ambitious effort from just inside his own half, but while he had the accuracy he did not have the distance.

But the Scots hit the front after 26 minutes when tighthead prop Jon Welsh spotted a gap from a ruck in front of the posts and he dived over.

Ruaridh Jackson made no mistake with the conversion from in front of the posts to make it 7-0.

Connacht, despite ever threatening the visitors' line in the opening half, gave themselves hope before the break when O'Connor landed a difficult penalty from 37 metres on the left to leave it 7-3 at the interval.

Jackson extended Glasgow's lead after the restart with a penalty from the right. But then Glasgow winger Tommy Seymour was binned for killing the ball and the game swung in Connacht's favour.

They built the phases and finally got in for a try when a crossfield kick from O'Connor created the opening.

Connacht fullback Gavin Duffy contested the dropping ball with his opposite number Peter Murchie and it fell kindly for Tiernan O'Halloran, who still had a lot of work to do but made the line.

O'Connor landed the touchline conversion to level the game at 10-10 after 64 minutes.

But almost on the restart Connacht flanker Eoghan Grace gave away a soft penalty for obstructing Glasgow scrum-half Pyrgos and Duncan Weir made no mistake with the penalty from 35 metres to put the Scots back in front.

That looked like it would be enough to secure the win, but O'Connor got one final chance and he made no mistake with a kick that just crept over the bar from 25 metres out on the right into the strong wind to give Connacht a deserved share of the spoils.

Scorers -- Connacht: O'Halloran try, O'Connor 2 pens, con. Glasgow: Welsh try, Jackson pen, con Weir pen

Connacht: G Duffy; F Vainikolo, K Tonetti (E Grffin, 58), H Fa'afili, T O'Halloran; N O'Connor, P O'Donohoe (Moore, 51); B Wilkinson, A Flavin, R Loughney; M Swift, M McCarthy; J Muldoon, E Grace (D Gannon, 72), G Naoupu

Glasgow Warriors: P Murchie; T Seymour, T Nathan, G Morrison, D Lemi (C Shaw, 66); R Jackson (D Weir, 62), H Pyrgos; R Grant (G Reid, 66), P MacArthur (F Gillies, 62), J Welsh; R Verbakel, T Ryder; R Harley, C Fusaro, R Wilson (C Forrester, 66)

Referee: P Allan (SRU)

Sunday Indo Sport

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport