Connacht turn attentions to Pat Lam’s Bristol after Wasps win
Andy Friend’s side continue strong pre-season with a vibrant and comfortable victory
Connacht’s James Connolly carries against Wasps. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Connacht 43 Wasps 10
Connacht Rugby will seek a third win on the trot this week to complete a positive pre season, but can expect to find former coach Pat Lam and his newly promoted Bristol a tougher proposition than Wasps.
After a win in Brive, Connacht saw off Dai Young’s Coventry outfit too easily in Athlone on Saturday, leading 14-3 at half time and racking up seven tries by the end. And after an energetic and positive performance, new coach Andy Friend says another win will stand to Connacht as they prepare to open their new Pro 14 season at home to Glasgow in two weeks.
“I’m comfy where we are right now. We worked harder than the opposition, and comes down to attitude. If you are prepared to work harder and put yourself in the tough positions some of the other teams don’t want to go, you will end up getting more luck, and today we worked harder.
“What was most pleasing was the way we scored some of the tries. It was a combination of some good forward play, some good open play, some good strike play, and to leak one try was pleasing. We are fully aware its a pre-season, but winning becomes a habit, and the boys played some good football.”
New Brumbies’ recruit Kyle Godwin was one to stand out in Dubarry Park, alongside try scorer and creator Tom Farrell. Outhalf Jack Carty looked assured on a return to his home ground, with Matt Healy and Niyi Adeolokun revelled in space on the wings. In youngsters, blindside Paul Boyle and lock Joe Maksymiw, there was much to admire, while new captain Jarrad Butler was his usual aggressive self at the breakdown, until forced off with a rib knock.
Farrell struck for the first try after 11 minutes, created by a left wing Matt Healy, who bagged the second on 36 minutes for a 14-3 half time lead, with Wasps’ three-pointer coming from outhalf Billy Searle.
The second half, marked by full complements of players being introduced, began with a third try from fullback Cian Kelleher after a quick tap penalty by scrumhalf Caolan Blade. Niyi Adeolokun was helped on his way for the fourth by a slick pass from replacement Craig Ronaldson, while another sub Rory Scholes added the fifth. The pack created the sixth for replacement scrumhalf James Mitchell before Conor Carey completed the rout on 80 minutes - three minutes after Callum Sirker bagged Wasps’ sole try.
CONNACHT: C Kelleher ; N Adeolokun, K Godwin, T Farrell, M Healy; J Carty, C Blade; D Buckley, D Heffernan, F Bealham; J Maksymiw, J Cannon; P Boyle, J Butler (capt), E McKeon.
Replacements: J Connolly for Butler (15 mins), S Delahunt for Heffernan (HT), C Gallagher for Cannon (46), R Scholes for Healy and D Leader for Kelleher (50), C Ronaldson for Carty, E Griffin for Farrell and J Mitchell for Blade (all 52), C O’Donnell for Buckley and C Carey for Bealham (both 57), S O’Brien for McKeon (61), C de Buitléar for Adeolokun (65).
WASPS: R Miller; A Curtis, J de Jongh, M Le Bourgeois, M Watson; B Searle, J Simpson; T West, Tommy Taylor, W Stuart; W Rowlands, C Matthews; A Johnson (cpt), Joe Atkinson, Ben Morris.
Replacements: J Gopperth for Searle (52, reversal 65); W Porter for Simpson and G Lovobalavu (both 52), T Cruse for Taylor, K Brookes for Stuart, B Harris for West, Ross Neal for Juan de Jongh HT), T Willis for A Johnson (53), T Cardell for Matthews (57), K Myall for Rowlands (61), J Bassett for Watson and C Sirker for Curtis (66), D Langley for Brookes (73),
Referee: Johnny Erskine.