Dragons 14 Connacht 38
CONNACHT thrashed the lowly Dragons in Newport to claim their second PRO14 win of the season.
Tries from Gavin Thornbury, Matt Healey, Finlay Bealham, Cillian Gallagher and Kieran Marmion sealed a bonus point victory while Conor Fitzgerald contributed 11 points from the kicking tee.
All the Dragons could muster were two tries from Tyler Morgan and Taine Basham with Sam Davies kicking four points.
The Dragons claimed the games opening try with Wales international centre Morgan crossing from short range as a result of a delicately timed pass from Davies.
But were given an opportunity to hit straight back when Dragons captain Rhodri Williams kicked the ball out on the full giving Connacht an attacking lineout on the hosts’ 22. Connacht drove the Dragons backwards before Gavin Thornbury powered his way over from short range.
And Connacht took the lead soon after with Fitzgerald knocking over a penalty from 30 metres out. Connacht extended their lead to 10 points with a cracking individual try from Healey.
The left-wing chipped over the top of the Dragons defence on the halfway line before showing great pace to regather the ball and score. Fitzgerald improved Connacht’s lead with a difficult conversion attempt.
Debutant John Porch was then sent to the sin bin on the stroke of half-time for a clumsy challenge in the air on his opposite number Ashton Hewitt but Connacht held a 17-7 lead at the interval.
Connacht took control of the game in the early stages of the second-half and took a commanding lead when Ireland international tight-head Bealham crossed from short range after a powerful driving lineout with Fitzgerald converting.
A fine performance by Connacht was overshadowed when Tom McCartney was stretchered off the field after his head made contact with the leg of a Dragons player.
Gallagher claimed the bonus point try for the hosts as he bundled his way over from short range with Fitzgerald adding the extras for the visitors. Marmion rubbed further salt into the Dragons’ wounds as he ran in unopposed from 40 metres out.
Wales under 20s star Basham claimed a late consolation try for the hosts.
Dragons: J Williams, O Jenkins, T Morgan (J Dixon 58), A Warren, A Hewitt; S Davies, R Williams (T Knoyle 58); B Harris (J Cosgrove 3), R Hibbard (E Shipp 58), L Brown (L Fairbrother 58), J Davies (M Williams 72), M Screech, H Taylor (H Keddie 49), T Basham, L Evans (H Taylor 58).
Replacements not used: B Botica
Connacht: T O'Halloran (S Fitzgerald 7); J Porch, K Godwin, P Robb, M Healey (K Marmion 38); C Fitzgerald, C Blade; P McAllister, T McCartney (S Delahunt 55), F Bealham (D Buckley 57), G Thornbury (U Dillane 51), Q Roux (C Gallagher 68), E Masterson, J Butler, P Boyle.
Replacements not used: D Robertson-McCoy
Referee: Marius Mitrea
Star man: Conor Fitzgerald (Connacht)