Champions Connacht edge Dragons

Date published: February 18 2017

PRO12 champions Connacht picked up a 14-9 win over Newport Gwent Dragons at the Sportsground on Saturday.

Tiernan O'Halloran's try in the fifth minute gave Connacht the perfect start, converted by Craig Ronaldson.

Scrum-half Caolin Blade, a late call-up for Ireland's Kieran Marmion, also crossed early to open up a 14-0 lead.

Dragons responded through an Angus O'Brien penalty and the score stayed the same at half-time, with Connacht ahead 14-3.

A second O'Brien penalty closed the gap and in a low-scoring second half the Dragon number ten's third penalty guaranteed a losing bonus point as Connacht clung on.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Tries: O'Halloran, Blade
Cons: Ronaldson 2

For Dragons:
Pens: O'Brien 3

Connacht: 15 Tiernan O'Halloran, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Tom Farrell, 12 Craig Ronaldson, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Caolin Blade, 8 John Muldoon (c), 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Sean O'Brien, 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Dave Heffernan, 1 Denis Buckley

Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 JP Cooney, 19 James Cannon, 20 Nepia Fox-Matamua, 21 John Cooney, 22 Steve Crosbie, 23 Rory Parata

Dragons: 15 Tom Prydie, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Pat Howard, 10 Dorian Jones, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Lewis Evans, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Ollie Griffiths, 5 Rynard Landman, 4 Nick Crosswell, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Sam Hobbs
Replacements: 16 Darran Harris, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Harrison Keddie, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Angus O'Brien, 23 Sam Beard

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Adam Jones (Wales), Shane Kierans (Ireland)
TMO: Charles Samson (Scotland)