Connacht vs Edinburgh Rugby, Sat, 15/02/2014 - 17:00

Edinburgh Rugby surrendered a half-time time lead to the leave the Sportsground frustrated with a bonus-point tonight (11-7).

The visitors took seven minutes to score seven points with a clinical start to the match - centre Nick De Luca with the line-break that was recycled to back-row Roddy Grant to pile over the line.

Unfortunately the men in black were unable to build on this bright start and, after repelling heavy pressure, conceded a yellow card.

Connacht used the man advantage to level the try count through lock Michael Swift and take the lead.

With a Jack Cuthbert try disallowed for crossing, replacement stand-off Dan Parks sealed the win with a penalty kick.

Head coach Alan Solomons could not hide his frustration after the match at both the error count and treatment of his side at the breakdown.

He said: "It's disappointing because I think we were blown off the field [by the whistle] in the second-half to be perfectly honest. I want a much closer look at the film of the game and Jack [Cuthbert]'s try.

"It had a major influence on the game. I think the penalty count was 12 to two overall, and that's massive.

On top of that, when we did get into Connacht's red zone, we made silly mistakes and our error count was too high.

Well done to Connacht but that was a game we could and should have won."

- - Head coach Alan Solomons

Match report...

Heading into the game, Solomons had admitted his side may be a bit rusty, having seen their previous RaboDirect PRO12 game against Dragons postponed.

However there was no sign of that early in the proceeding as Grant charged over for the opening score, much of it owed to the work of De Luca, who punished Connacht for conceding turnover ball and broke through their defence.

Stand-off Carl Bezuidenhout, making his first start for the club, duly added the extras to put the visitors 7-0 to the good.

Connacht were struggling to click into gear as the Edinburgh defence held firm and errors plagued them before a straight-on penalty was converted by stand-off Craig Ronaldson to put some points on the board.

It was then Edinburgh began to accrue penalties, though Ronaldson missed two from distance, either side of the half hour mark.

The fly-half had another chance to pull his side back to within a point before half-time only to be denied by the post for the second time, all be it from a much more achievable range.

Half-time: Connacht (3) 11-7 (7) Edinburgh Rugby

The hosts maintained the pressure after the restart and, after winning another penalty almost immediately, Ronaldson opted to kick for touch.

The pressure eventually told and, with another penalty going against them, Du Preez was the man to suffer for repeated infringements on the 45 minute mark.

Connacht made the man count almost immediately as Swift bustled his way over for an 8-7 lead following a missed conversion from Ronaldson.

Bezuidenhout had a chance to hit back but his penalty from outside the Connacht 10m went just wide before De Luca again broke free and released Cuthbert before being hauled back for crossing.

The game was finely balanced going into the final 15 minutes with Parks slotting over a penalty on 68 minutes to extend their advantage to four to ultimately secure Connacht's first win over Scottish opponents in five attempts.

Full-time: Connacht (3) 11-7 (7) Edinburgh Rugby

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw; 14 Fionn Carr, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Tiernan O’Halloran; 10 Craig Ronaldson, 9 Kieran Marmion; 1 Denis Buckley, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 3 Rodney Ah You, 4 Mick Kearney, 5 Michael Swift, 6 Andrew Browne, 7 Jake Heenan, 8 John Muldoon CAPTAIN. Substitites: 16 Dave Heffernan on for Harris-Wright (51'), 17 Ronan Loughney on for Ah You (65'), Ah You back on for Loughney (74'), 18 JP Cooney, 19 Aly Muldowney on for Swift (63'), 20 George Naoupu on for Brown (71'), 21 Paul O’Donohoe, 22 Dan Parks for McSharry (53'), 23 Darragh Leader on for Henshaw (67').

Edinburgh Rugby: 15 Jack Cuthbert; 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tom Brown; 10 Carl Bezuidenhout, 9 Grayson Hart; 1 Wicus Blaauw, 2 James Hilterbrand, 3 Willem Nel, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 6 Mike Coman CAPTAIN, 7 Roddy Grant, 8 Cornell Du Preez. Substitutes: 16 Ross Ford on for Hilterbrand (36'), 17 Alex Allan, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Ollie Atkins on for van der Westhuizen (63'), 20 Tomas Leonardi on for Coman (71'), 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne on for Hart (70'), 22 Sam Beard, 23 Harry Leonard on for Bezuidenhout (70').

Team lineups

Connacht
Edinburgh Rugby

Backs

15 Robbie Henshaw
14 Fionn Carr
13 Eoin Griffin
12 Dave McSharry
11 Tiernan O’Halloran
10 Craig Ronaldson
9 Kieran Marmion

Backs

15
14
13
12
11
10
9

Forwards

1 Denis Buckley
2 Jason Harris-Wright
3 Rodney Ah You
4 Mick Kearney
5 Michael Swift
6 Andrew Browne
7 Jake Heenan
8 John Muldoon

Forwards

Substitutes

16 Dave Heffernan
17 Ronan Loughney
18 JP Cooney
19 Aly Muldowney
20 George Naoupu
21 Paul O’Donohoe
22 Dan Parks
23 Darragh Leader

Substitutes

16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
Attendance: 
4 035
Man of the match: 
Denis Buckley