Connacht grab victory over Edinburgh in a see-saw contest
Boot of Parks and late Henshaw try the difference
Connacht’s Robbie Henshaw, whose late try was crucial to Connacht’s win in Edinburgh. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Inpho
Edinburgh 24 Connacht 32: Little to separate the two sides on the league table, and little to separate them on the evening, but in the end it was Connacht who grabbed the victory to extend their lead over Edinburgh in the Pro12 table.
In a game with only pride at stake for both sides, there was plenty of earnest endeavour punctuated by some individual flair, but it was Connacht ’s unwavering determination that came through in the end.
For a long time it looked like Greig Laidlaw’s boot would prevent Connacht from grabbing their first win in Murrayfield since 2005 and their eighth victory this season, but they wrested control in the last eight minutes and made it count when Robbie Henshaw grabbed his side’s second try of the evening in the 77th minute.
Laidlaw made the difference in the opening half, putting his side 15-13 in front with five penalty kicks the Connacht try coming when Gavin Duffy’s superb break was finished by flanker Mick Kearney, with Dan Parks converting. With Parks sin-binned Duffy struck a superb kick on the stroke of half-time to close the gap to just two points.
Parks returned just in time to put Connacht ahead for the first time in the 48th minute before nudging his side further ahead. However when Connacht prop Ronan Loughney was sinbinned, the home side sensed victory, reduced the deficit and retook the lead with yet another Laidlaw penalty.
Parks, however, struck a drop goal, but, in the nature of this see-sawing contest, Laidlaw potted his eighth effort for a 24-22 lead heeding into the final 10 minutes.
Connacht struck for the winner in the 77th minute. When the home side failed to deal with a kick, Kieran Marmion hacked on and from the ensuing ruck, Robbie Henshaw claimed the touchdown. Parks added the extras, and an 82nd-minute penalty to deny the Scottish side even a losing bonus point.