Planet Rugby

Dragons stutter in Galway

18th March 2010 00:58

Share:

Ian Keatley Connacht

Ian Keatley: On top form

Connacht's Ian Keatley won the fly-half battle as the Magners League's bottom side picked up a much-needed 16-3 win over the Dragons in Galway.

Keatley kicked three penalties and converted Fionn Carr's first-half try to extend Connacht's impressive unbeaten home run, which stretches back to September, and dent the Dragons' play-off hopes.

Paul Turner's charges were missing internationals Luke Charteris and Danny Lydiate and the injured trio of Adam Jones, Lewis Evans and James Harris.

But it is doubtful if any of those players would have made a difference at the Sportsground as Connacht were largely dominant and the Dragons were restricted to just a single penalty from 20-year-old fly-half Jason Tovey.

It was clear from the off that Keatley, who is two years older than his opposite number, would have the better platform to work off as the Connacht forwards were highly effective at set-piece time, with lock Mike McCarthy stealing two Dragons lineouts.

That hard graft up front saw Keatley convert two penalty goals after nine and 15 minutes and Michael Bradley's men moved 13-0 ahead at the midpoint of the half, completing a terrific breakaway try.

Scrum-half Conor O'Loughlin used turnover ball to make a break and kicked through for Liam Bibo to chase. He gathered well and found his fellow winger Carr with a lofted pass, and Connacht's top try-scorer of the current campaign did the rest, outpacing the cover to score close to the posts.

Keatley added the extras to Carr's 12th try in 16 outings this season. The Dragons, seeking to spoil the St Patrick's Day celebrations, showed signs of life with some strong running from centre Matthews Watkins, but their wide men were kept out of the game as Connacht kept play tight.

Tovey landed a penalty to cut the gap to 13-3 at half-time, after Tom Willis and his Dragons forwards were stopped five metres out.

However, the Dragons were off colour once again during a rather listless second half.

Connacht, with John Muldoon and George Naoupu carrying well, built through the phases impressively, setting up an early penalty for Keatley which he sent through the posts.

The Ireland international missed two further efforts, and while the Dragons almost hit back with a try - Bibo produced a brilliant hit on Watkins to force a turnover - and ended the game camped on the home line, Connacht held firm to hand the Welsh side their first defeat in five matches.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Try Carr
Con: Keatley
Pens: Keatley 3

For the Dragons:
Pen: Tovey

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Liam Bibo, 13 Niva Ta'auso, 12 Keith Matthews, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor O'Loughlin, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Ray Ofisa, 6 John Muldoon (c), 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Adrian Flavin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Ronan Loughney, 17 Robbie Morris, 18 Bernie Upton, 19 Mike McComish, 20 Kieran Campbell, 21 Miah Nikora, 22 Aidan Wynne.

Dragons: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Will Harries, 13 Mathew Watkins, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Grant Webb, 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 Toby Faletau, 5 Hoani Macdonald, 4 Rob Sidoli, 3 Ben Castle, 2 Tom Willis (capt), 1 Hugh Gustafson.
Replacements: 16 Steve Jones, 17 Pat Palmer, 18 Andrew Coombs, 19 Adam Brown, 20 Tom Riley, 21 James Arlidge, 22 James Leadbeater.

Date: Wednesday, March 18

Venue: Galway Sportsground

Kick-off: 18.30

Referee: Andy Macpherson (SRU)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
Sunday , September 28
Exeter vs Harlequins14:00
Wasps vs Newcastle14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
Sunday , September 28
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Pumas vs Western Province19:00
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39