Connacht dispatch Bulls with ease
URC REPORT: Connacht got their first win of the season, beating the Bulls 34-7 at the Sportsground in Galway on Friday.
The Irish side outscored the Bulls five tries to one for the bonus-point win.
* To recap all the drama CLICK HERE!!!
Still reeling from last week’s defeat to Leinster, the Bulls made a flying start in Galway.
Zak Burger’s break, combined with some sharp passing, set up prop Lizo Gqoboka to score from close range, which Johan Goosen converted.
Connacht hit back in the 15th minute, a well-driven maul splintering the defence before slick hands in midfield put full-back O’Halloran over and Carty levelled with the conversion.
Both teams left chances behind them, the hosts narrowly missing out when John Porch’s score was ruled out following a TMO review for a forward pass by Daly.
Arno Botha was guilty of going off his feet just as the Bulls were poised to score in the 28th minute. In the end, a Carty penalty managed to split the sides.
Early in the second half, Daly finished powerfully past Ruan Combrinck after Connacht had worn down the visitors’ defence, Carty’s conversion making it a 10-point lead.
Then it was Hansen’s turn to gobble up a Bulls kick and break free from 60 metres out. He cut in from the left, beating the cover to draw the biggest cheer of the night on his home debut.
The try stood – a potential block was ruled out – but Carty, who had a fine game in attack and defence, hit the post with the conversion.
It was a frustrating night for Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee and his teammates, who struggled with their discipline at times.
As the rain came down, Carty released Farrell for a free-flowing fourth try before Daly bludgeoned his way over right at the death.
Player of the match
As the game wore on, Connacht tightened their grip and the out-of-sorts Bulls struggled to land a shot.
Burger was lively early on for the visitors, and Carty knitted things together well for Connacht, but Hansen claimed the honours for his wonder try and solid general play.
Play of the match
The lightning-quick Hansen announced himself to the Sportsground faithful with a spine-tingling solo score.
His searing pace left the covering Combrinck and Goosen in a muddle. Sales of white scrum caps are sure to rise in Galway.
Tries: O’Hallowran, Daly 2, Hansen, Farrell
Cons: Carty 2
For the Bulls:
Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 John Porch, 13 Tom Farrell, 12 Tom Daly, 11 Mack Hansen, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Abraham Papali’i, 7 Jarrad Butler (captain), 6 Cian Prendergast, 5 Ultan Dillane, 4 Oisin Dowling, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Dave Heffernan, 1 Jordan Duggan.
Replacements: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 Matthew Burke, 18 Jack Aungier, 19 Leva Fifita, 20 Conor Oliver, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Paul Boyle, 23 Sammy Arnold.
Bulls: 15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Joe van Zyl, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 Jacques du Plessis, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Stedman Gans.
Referee: Ben Blain (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Paul Haycock (Ireland), Andrew Cole (Ireland)
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (Ireland)