Sport Rugby

Monday 11 December 2017

Ofisa blow for Connacht

Ray Ofisa looks certain to miss Connacht's Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final against Toulon on Friday after suffering a recurrence of 'vertigo' in the Westerners' nine-try defeat to the Scarlets yesterday.

The Samoan flanker was forced off with the condition, which causes dizziness, 50 minutes into his side's thrashing -- it was the Scarlet's biggest winning margin in the competition, and lifted the struggling Welsh region off the foot of the table at the visitors' expense.

"Ray is now a big doubt for next week," conceded Connacht coach Michael Bradley. "We thought we would risk him, but he doesn't seem to be okay at all."

The result, coupled with Ulster's resounding victory at Edinburgh, leaves Connacht five points behind their northern rivals in the league table, with a vastly inferior points-difference, ahead of the final game at Ravenhill in a fortnight's time. It effectively means that, to qualify for next season's Heineken Cup, Connacht either need to win the Amlin Challenge Cup, or rely on Munster or Leinster to claim European glory.

Yesterday, the Scarlets surged into a 31-3 half-time lead with prop Rhys Thomas crashing over for two tries. Jonathan Davies and Rob McCusker also touched down.

Eoin Griffin scored a consolation but the Scarlets' spree continued with tries from Josh Turnbull, a double for Regan King, a second from centre Davies and one from Sean Lamont.

Scarlets -- D Evans; S Lamont, R King, J Davies, A Fenby (L Williams 67); R Priestland (D Newton 77), M Roberts (T Knoyle 67); I Thomas (P John 32-40, 61), M Rees (E Phillips 72), R Thomas (D Manu 61), L Reed, D Welch (D Day 61), R McCusker, D Lyons (capt), J Turnbull

Connacht -- L Bibo; T O'Halloran (K Campbell 53), T Nathan, E Griffin, B Tuhoy; I Keatley (M Nikora 52), C O'Loughlin; R Loughney, A Flavin (capt, D Murphy 67), R Morris (C Higgins 45), D Nolan, B Upton, A Browne (D Murphy 56-66), M McComish, R Ofisa (E McKeown 50).

Ref -- A Macpherson (SRU).

Irish Independent

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