Connacht collect valuable bonus-point win against Scarlets

Pete Wilkins’s side were deserving winners against the Welsh outfit

URC: Connacht 26 Scarlets 10

Connacht collected a valuable bonus-point win against Scarlets at Dexcom Stadium to propel them into the URC’s top eight.

Dominant territorially and in possession, Pete Wilkins’s Connacht were deserving winners against the Welsh outfit.

Quickest off the mark in the sixth minute, and having butchered two early efforts, scrumhalf Caolin Blade finished in the right corner, helped immeasurably by the bulldozing efforts of prop Jack Aungier. And by the 10th minute, Connacht had added a second following a length-of-the-field attack. Man of the match Cathal Forde was involved, making headway before hooker Eoin de Butlier was on hand to finish – Hanrahan’s conversion wide on this occasion.


A penalty provided another opportunity, and despite a knock-on, the home side recovered before number eight Sean Jansen eventually crashed over for the third try after 23 minutes. With Hanrahan adding the extras for a 19-0 lead, it was all one-way traffic.

However, Connacht were given a wake-up call when Scarlets scrumhalf Efan Jones cut the deficit with their opening try after 27 minutes – the result of an initial intercept and some patient phase play – with outhalf Dan Jones adding the extras.

Connacht should have added a fourth before the break, but they spurned an effort when Andrew Smith failed to ground from a flying dive on the left wing following a lightning break from David Hawkshaw. And, although once again camped on the line, Connacht found themselves stripped of possession during their efforts to drive forward, leading 19-7 at the break.

Although Dan Jones struck a penalty for the visitors after half-time, the home side regained control, and the bonus point try arrived when Sean Jansen was awarded his second following TMO. Hanrahan added the extras for a 26-10 lead. Sleet, and injuries to Ford and O’Halloran dampened spirits somewhat, but not enough to deny Connacht their seventh win of the season.

Scoring sequence: 5m Blade try, JJ Hanrahan con 7-0; 9m de Buitlear try 12-0; 22m Jansen try, Hanrahan con 19-0 26m E Jones try, D Jones con 19-7; HT 19-7; 46m Jones penalty 19-10; 57m Jansen try, Hanrahan con 26-10.

Connacht: T O’Halloran, B Ralston, D Hawkshaw, C Forde, A Smith, JJ Hanrahan, C Blade (C), P Dooley, E de Butler, J AugierO Dowling for Thornbury (44m), N Murray, G Thornbury, C Prendergast, S Hurley-Langton, S Jansen. Replacements, O Dowling for Thornbury (44m), D Heffernan for de Butlier, D Buckley for Dooley, S Illo for Aungier, and C Oliver for Hurley-Langton (all 54m), J Carty for Hanrahan and Sean O’Brien for Jansen (both 64), M McDonald for Blade (71m), JJ Hanrahan for Forde and C Blade for O’Halloran (both 73m),

Scarlets: I Nicholas, T Lewis, J Williams, E James, S Evans, D Jones, E Jones, W Jones, S Evans, S Wainwright, A Craig, J Price, S Lousi, D Davis, V Fifita. Replacements, J Jones for Wainwright and M Jones for Price (both 59m), S Thomas for W Jones, W Jones, B Williams for Craig, A Hughes for D Jones, and R Conbeer for Lewis (all 67m), C Titcombe for D Jones and E Swart for Evans (72m).

Referee: Federico Vedovelli