Planet Rugby

Connacht get off the mark

19th September 2008 21:23

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Connacht secured their first win of the season in the Magners League, with a 15-8 success over Glasgow on Friday at the Sportsground.

Summer signing Fionn Carr and durable prop Brett Wilkinson, in his third season with the Irish province, both broke their try duck in the competition by nabbing crucial first-half scores, and some rock-solid defence did the rest of the job.

It was a familiar story for Glasgow as they failed to make the most of their scoring opportunities, allowing Connacht to craft a much-needed first win of the season.

Place-kickers Dan Parks and Colin Gregor both had a night to forget for the visitors as they missed a series of kickable penalties, which had they been scored might have deflated Connacht's passion.

The Scottish side received a "wake-up call", according to captain Alastair Kellock, when the Ospreys beat them with a late try last week.

And that looked to be the case as they quickly moved 8-0 ahead.

Parks landed a second-minute penalty goal and winger Thom Evans burst through for a fine individual try after 22 minutes.

Ireland international Gavin Duffy failed to retrieve a high kick and the alert Evans lapped up the loose ball and showed impressive pace to run in his third try in two games.

Glasgow were enjoying all the possession in the early stages but Parks' missed conversion and two sliced penalties did little for his team's swaying confidence.

Turning things around, Connacht enjoyed a dominant 10-minute spell coming up to half-time, which allowed them to take a 12-8 lead into the break.

Duffy redeemed himself with a try-saving tackle and full-back Carr really announced himself with a superb 31st-minute try.

He intercepted a pass from Graeme Morrison on the Connacht 22, turned on the gas to make great headway down the right wing and then cut inside the last man before touching down under the posts.

Ian Keatley converted and Connacht moved ahead soon afterwards when scrum-half Frank Murphy sliced through a gap after taking Andrew Farley's lineout tap-down and offloaded for Wilkinson to pile over. Keatley struck the post with his conversion attempt.

Connacht really did win the hard way as they suffered two sin-binnings in the third quarter, with Colm Rigney and Duffy both carded for not rolling away in the tackle.

Clearing up matters at the breakdown, Welsh referee David Bodilly also flashed a yellow at Glasgow centre Morrison.

The visitors had regained the advantage in terms of possession and territory but they were lacking a final pass and Connacht's forwards, most notably the heavy-hitting Mike McCarthy, tackled their hearts out in a tense finale.

Glasgow had a 25-minute period in and around the hosts' 22.

Their best scoring chances fell to Gregor who twice shot wide of the uprights and it was left to replacement Andy Dunne to kick Connacht safe with an injury-time penalty.

The scorers:

For Connacht:

Tries: Carr, Wilkinson

Con: Keatley

Pen: Dunne

For Glasgow:

Try: Evans

Pen: Parks

Connacht: 15 Fionn Carr, 14 Liam Bibo, 13 Gavin Duffy, 12 Keith Matthews, 11 John Hearty, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 Colm Rigney, 7 Ray Ofisa, 6 John Muldoon (c), 5 Andrew Farley, 4 Michael McCarthy, 3 Robbie Morris, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.

Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Andrew Browne, 19 Jonny O'Connor, 20 Kieran Campbell, 21 Andy Dunne 22 Mel Deane.

Glasgow: 15 Bernardo Stortoni, 14 Hefin O'Hare, 13 Max Evans, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Thom Evans, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Mark McMillan, 8 Kelly Brown, 7 John Barclay, 6 Stevie Swindall, 5 Alastair Kellock (c), 4 Opeta Palepoi, 3 Moray Low, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Justin Va'a.

Replacements: 16 Eric Milligan, 17 Kevin Tkachuk, 18 Dan Turner, 19 Johnnie Beattie, 20 Andrew Henderson, 21 Colin Gregor, 22 Ruaridh Jackson.

Referee: David Bodily (Wales)

Touch judges: Mark Hermin (Ireland), Dermot Moloney (Ireland)

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