Dragons edge out Connacht

Date published: November 4 2016

Two drop-goals by Angus O'Brien helped the Dragons hold on for a 21-16 win over Connacht in the PRO12 on Friday.

The hosts were made to work hard for the win despite having the majority of the game, as they never managed to break clear of Connacht in the way their dominance of the game perhaps deserved. 

Connacht rallied late on to take a losing bonus point, meaning the two teams end the night on the same amount of points in the league, both hovering in the lower reaches of the table.

The visitors looked dangerous in the early scoreless moments of the game, but were second best once they fell behind. On the break, Ashton Hewitt provided the first score of the match as he charged forward on the break after a good interception from Sarel Pretorius. O'Brien added the extras.

Connacht tried their best to get back into the game, but were making errors at crucial times, one of which led to a penalty for an early tackle on Sam Beard, with O'Brien successfully kicking for the posts.

Past the midway stage of the first half, Jack Carty provided some respite for the away side, kicking a penalty, but O'Brien cancelled it out 10 minutes later with a drop goal. The visitors did go into the break with the final points of the half however, with Carty kicking from the tee after Newport were penalised for holding on.

The Dragons came out for the second half reinvigorated though, and a bright start saw Hewitt grab his second try of the evening following a clever chip from Beard, though O'Brien was this time unable to convert. Their lead was extended further moments later with O'Brien kicking his second drop goal of the evening.

Connacht gave themselves a footing into the game as Niyi Adeolokun used his pace to break through and the wing's touchdown was converted by Carty to put just a single try between the sides. But, as much as Connacht tried to get something more than a losing bonus point, their errors kept creeping into the game and the hosts held out for just their second win of the PRO12 season.

The scorers:

For Dragons:
Tries: Hewitt 2
Con: O'Brien
Pen: O'Brien
Drop-Goals: O'Brien 2

For Connacht:
Try: Adeolokun
Con: Carty
Pens: Carty 3

Dragons: 15 Tom Prydie, 14 Pat Howard, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Ashton Hewitt, 10 Angus O’Brien, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Ollie Griffiths, 6 Lewis Evans (c), 5 Rynard Landman, 4 Nick Crosswell, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Thomas Rhys Thomas, 1 Phil Price 
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Nic Cudd, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Geriant Rhys Jones, 23 Adam Warren

Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Bundee Aki, 12 Peter Robb, 11 Stacey Ili, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Caolin Blade, 8 John Muldoon (c), 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Eoin McKeon, 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 Conor Carey, 2 Shane Delahunt, 1 JP Cooney 
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Saba Meunargia, 18 Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 19 James Cannon, 20 James Connolly, 21 Conor McKeon, 22 Shane O’Leary, 23 Cian Kelleher

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: David Wilkinson (Ireland), Jason Bessant (Wales)