Connacht scored four tries as they secured a morale-boosting 24-8 PRO12 victory over the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Sunday.
Connacht scored four tries as they secured a morale-boosting 24-8 victory over the Dragons at Rodney Parade.
The Dragons took an early advantage through Jason Tovey's three-pointer, but converted tries by John Muldoon and Rodney Ah You saw the Irish province go into the break 14-3 ahead.
Muldoon's second touchdown extended the visitors' lead before Tom Prydie went over to give the Dragons a glimmer, but that was eradicated when Michael Swift crossed the whitewash for Connacht.
Despite enduring a difficult first half of the season, the Galway-based outfit have improved their results over the last two months and are now in with a chance of a top-six finish.
Although it was the Dragons who started the brighter and took the lead through Tovey, Connacht gradually took command of proceedings as the half wore on. Their maul in particular proved a prudent tactic and, from a dominant drive, Muldoon touched down.
The pressure at the set-piece then resulted in Dragons' lock Robert Sidoli being sin-binned for pulling down the line-out. Pat Lam's men immediately profited when Ah You barged over from close range to give them an 11-point buffer at the interval.
Connacht enjoyed the territorial dominance at the start of the second period, but the Dragons gradually grew into the game and had a number of opportunities to make some headway on the scoreboard.
However, they failed to take full advantage and it was the visitors that effectively sealed the victory through Muldoon's try. Darragh Leader's yellow card and Prydie's late touchdown gave the hosts hope, but the Irish province had the final word when Swift crossed the line.
Yellow card: Sidoli (22nd minute)
Tries: Muldoon, Ah You, Muldowney, Swift
Cons: Parks 2
Dragons: 15 Daniel Evans, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Ross Wardle, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Will Harries, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Rob Sidoli, 4 Andrew Coombs (c), 3 Bruce Douglas, 2 Hugh Gustafson, 1 Owen Evans.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Phil Price, 18 Duncan Bell, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Wayne Evans, 22 Ashley Smith, 23 Matthew Pewtner.
Connacht:15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Tiernan O'Halloran, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Eoghan Masterson, 6 John Muldoon (c), 5 Mick Kearney, 4 Aly Muldowney, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Nathan White, 19 Michael Swift, 20 Andrew Browne, 21 Frank Murphy, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Darragh Leader.
Referee: George Clancy