Connacht withstand Ospreys comeback to win again
Irish province secure their first at Liberty Stadium since their Pro12 winning title year
Connacht’s Peter Robb celebrates scoring his teams second try of the game. Photograph: Ryan Hiscott/Inpho
Connacht maintained their winning momentum when grabbing a hard-earned win against the Ospreys at Liberty Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
After three bonus point wins, Connacht went into this contest with confidence, but in miserable conditions, they were forced to dig deep for victory - their first at Liberty Stadium since their Pro12 winning title year, and their fourth in 16 years against the Swansea outfit.
Connacht can thank a solid first half for this win, having enjoyed a 17-3 lead after taking control of both territory and possession for the opening 40 minutes.
Despite an early Ospreys penalty kick from outhalf Luke Price, Connacht grabbed the initiative, responding almost immediately with a try from Niyi Adeolokun.
Having marked his first start of the season last weekend with a try, Adeolokun capitalised on some slick handling before kicking ahead and winning the race to touch down, with outhalf Conor Fitzgerald converting. He tacked on a penalty after 17 minutes to keep Connacht on the front foot, and when Ospreys had conceded one penalty too many, flanker Dan Lydiate was yellow-carded and Connacht took advantage.
From a five metre scrum, number eight Paul Boyle found space to supply centre and man of the match Peter Robb, who gave his opponents no chance with his direct charge to the line. Conor Fitzgerald added the extras to push Connacht into a 17-3 lead.
The home staged a second-half comeback when veteran James Hook introduced to steer the Swansea side. In the 55th minute the home side struck for their first try when hooker Sam Parry touched down from a forward drive, following a penalty to touch. Hook added the conversion to narrow the gap to seven points, but Fitzgerald was able to tack on a penalty five minutes later to restore the 10 point lead.
Ospreys: C Evans; H Dirksen; S Williams; T Thomas-Wheeler; T Williams; L Price; M Aubrey; R Jones, S Parry, T Botha, M Orie, L Ashley, D Lydiate (Capt), O Cracknell, D Baker.
Replacements: S Otten, G Thomas, M Fia, S Cross, M Morris, R Morgan-Williams for Aubrey (11’ HIA), J Hook for Price HT), M Morris for Baker (HT), L Klim for Williams (49m), M Fia for Botha (53’), G Thomas for Jones and S Parry for S Otten (60’), T Morgan-Willians for Aubrey (73’).
Connacht: D Leader, N Adeolokun, T Farrell, P Robb, J Porch, C Fitzgerald, K Marmion; D Buckley, D Heffernan, D Robertson-McCoy, U Dillane, J Maksymiw, E Masterson, J Butler (Capt), P Boyle.
Replacements: C Gallagher for Dillane (HT), C Blade for Marmion (50m), M Burke for Buckley and C Kenny for Robertson McCoy (57’), R Copeland for Maksymiw (62’), J Murphy for Heffernan and S Fitzgerald for Adeolokun (both 65’), T Daly for Robb (75’).
Referee: Marius Mitrea