Monday 19 March 2018

Eagles stuffed again but boss Carolan looks at the positives

NG Dragons XV 10-3 Connacht Eagles

Connacht Eagles finished their British & Irish Cup run with a sixth straight defeat Stock photo: PA
Connacht Eagles finished their British & Irish Cup run with a sixth straight defeat Stock photo: PA Newsdesk Newsdesk

Connacht Eagles boss Nigel Carolan refuses to be downcast, despite his side finishing their British & Irish Cup campaign with a sixth straight defeat.

Connacht were beaten 10-3 by a Newport Dragons Select XV on a heavy pitch in South Wales on Saturday.

It was a tough result to take for the Eagles, who created early inroads with Shane O'Leary's penalty, but were unable to turn their first-half territory into points. They were caught by Owen Davies' try on the brink of half-time, which settled the game.

But Carolan insisted the tournament had been a relative success for the region. "I've got mixed feelings," he said, "we played with a lot of ambition and tried to play some good rugby but made too many errors.

"Conditions were tough but our skill level let us down. We haven't got the results but it's been a good tournament for us and we have blooded a lot of youngsters.

"We had a lot of teenagers out there so the future is bright and we are getting a lot of guys coming through the academy so the British & Irish Cup is great in that regard."

The Eagles finished bottom of a group with the Dragons Select, as well as English heavyweights Jersey and Doncaster.

Carolan added: "You are always going to have a bit of inconsistency through the six games when you are putting academy lads, a couple of pros and some club players together, but overall we are pleased with how things have gone."

Dragons Select - L Ap Myrddin, G Gasson, C Edwards, R Wardle, A Brew (B Nightingale, 31), J Prosser, O Davies; H Gustafson (capt.), R Buckley (L Garrett 40), L Fairbrother (L Brown, 60) S Andrews, A Brown (J Skinner, 55), S Matthews, J Benjamin, H Keddie (A Waite 62).

Connacht Eagles - A Pewhairangi, E O'Keefe, C Brennan, P Robb, F Carr, S O'Leary (C McKeon 57), C Lowndes (S Kerrins 57); R Loughney, J Dinneen (P O'Toole, 62), C O'Donnell, D Qualter (C Romaine, 57) D Nolan, M Kelly, R Moloney (capt.), C Gallagher (M Cosgrove, 70).

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