Planet Rugby

Nikora nicks it for Connacht

02nd April 2010 21:10

Share:

Miah Nikora

Miah Nikora: Late winner

Kiwi Miah Nikora kicked a late penalty as the Magners League's bottom side Connacht edged out high-flying Edinburgh 22-21 on Friday.

Despite missing of number of first-choice players through injury, including team captain John Muldoon and powerful centre Niva Ta'auso, Connacht rose to the occasion and extended their unbeaten home run to seven matches.

In an end-to-end game laced with twists and turns, an early try from winger Brian Tuohy helped Connacht into an 11-0 lead before play-off hopefuls Edinburgh hit back.

Wingers Tim Visser and Mark Robertson both touched down as the Scottish side took a 14-11 half-time lead,

Connacht fly-half Ian Keatley, who finished with 14 points, and Edinburgh flanker Roddy Grant exchanged tries in the second half, but Keatley's replacement Nikora grabbed the glory by nailing the match-winning kick four minutes from time.

The victory should provide Michael Bradley's charges with a huge lift ahead of next weekend's Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final against French side Bourgoin.

Connacht really should have been ahead at half-time, having opened well and showed some of the form which almost shocked Leinster into submission last time out.

Keatley got them off the mark with a penalty in the third minute and he made a superb break to set up Tuohy for an unconverted eighth-minute try.

Keatley was linking well with the in-form Frank Murphy, behind a cohesive home pack, and he landed a lovely drop goal from distance while Connacht had a penalty advantage.

But try-scoring chances for the hosts were missed when the fleet-footed Fionn Carr decided to kick rather than back his own pace, and Mike McComish and Michael Swift were held up close to the line on separate occasions.

Edinburgh, who had lacked their usual panache, sprung into life in the closing 10 minutes of the opening half.

Phil Godman twice kicked penalties to the corner and the pressure told when Dutchman Visser broke through for his eighth try of the league campaign.

Godman added the extras and after a Troy Nathan-led attack came to nothing, Edinburgh clinically countered for their second try, swinging play left and right before Robertson finished well.

Three points ahead at the break, Rob Moffat's men tore into Connacht at the start of the second half and with Jim Hamilton and Alan MacDonald carrying well, they looked poised to score.

Ben Cairns went close to registering a try but Keatley left the Scots reeling, five minutes in, when he intercepted a pass on the 10-metre line and darted over for an encouraging score which he failed to convert.

Edinburgh's all-international pack began to force the issue, particularly at scrum time, and a typically pacy attack from the visitors saw Grant cross for a try which Godman converted.

At 21-19 up with 20 minutes remaining, Edinburgh were all set to finish the job but Connacht dug their heels in and produced a typically dogged final quarter, as the rain began to teem down.

Chasing their first away win since December, Edinburgh were met with stubborn resistance and as Connacht countered and their forwards built through the phases, they eked out that crucial penalty which Nikora coolly converted.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Tries: Tuohy, Keatley
Pens: Keatley 2, Nikora
Drop goal: Keatley

For Edinburgh:
Tries: Visser, Robertson, Grant
Cons: Godman 3

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy (capt), 14 Brian Tuohy, 13 Troy Nathan, 12 Aidan Wynne, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 Mike McComish, 7 Johnny O'Connor, 6 Mike McCarthy, 5 Bernie Upton, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Dave Nolan, 19 Andrew Browne, 20 Conor O'Loughlin, 21 Miah Nikora, 22 Eoin Griffin.

Edinburgh: 15 Jim Thompson, 14 Mark Robertson, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Ben Cairns, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair (capt), 8 Roddy Grant, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Alan MacDonald, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Scott MacLeod, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Andrew Kelly, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Kyle Traynor, 18 Steve Turnbull, 19 Scott Newlands, 20 Greig Laidlaw, 21 David Blair, 22 John Houston.

Referee: Leighton Hodges

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Preview
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Glasgow vs UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Preview
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs BluesHurricanes vs Blues Preview
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954