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 , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland vs Tasman19:35
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26