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Connacht secures final quarterfinal berth

MATCH REPORT: In a thrilling final EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16 game, flank Cian Prendergast settled the score in Connacht’s favour, as they ran out 40-30 winners over Section Paloise.

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Both teams traded scores throughout the match, but Prendergast’s second at the end of the game secured the win for the Irish province after 80 minutes of hard fighting from both teams.

Connacht had to do it the hard way, trailing 20-12 at the break to their hosts who were good value for the lead.

Centre Bundee Aki was rightly awarded the player of the match berth for his efforts in leading his team to victory, on his birthday to boot.

It was his try which gave Connacht the lead with 15 minutes to go, Prendergast’s second try sealing it in the closing moments.

Dave Heffernan, Shayne Bolton and Caolin Blade also got on the scoresheet for the Irish province.

In total there were nine tries at the Stade du Hameau, three for Section Paloise and six for the visitors, but two penalties, three conversions and a drop goal from flyhalf Joe Simmonds meant it was the TOP14 club who looked set for a quarterfinal spot for much of the game.

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Their three tries came courtesy of a Sacha Zegueur first-half brace and a second half score from Ziggy Fisi’ihoi but it proved not to be enough.

Connacht will now play Benetton away from home next weekend in the EPCR Challenge Cup quarter-final stage.

Scorers:

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For Pau:
Tries: Zegueur, Fisiihoi 2
Cons: Simmonds 3
Pens: Simmonds 2
DG: Simmonds

For Connacht:
Tries: Heffernan, Prendergast 2, Bolton, Blade, Aki
Cons: Carty 2, Hanrahan 3

Teams:

Pau: 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Thomas Carol, 13 Eliott Roudil, 12 Jale Vatubua, 11 Aminiasi Tuimaba, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Sacha Zegueur, 7 Thibaut Hamonou, 6 Martin Puech (captain), 5 Lekima Tagitagivalu, 4 Guillaume Ducat, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Youri Delhommel, 1 Ziggy Fisi’ihoi
Replacements: 16 Lucas Rey, 17 Hugo Parrou, 18 Guram Papidze, 19 Steve Cummins, 20 Fabrice Metz, 21 Reece Hewat, 22 Thibault Daubagna, 23 Axel Desperes

Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 Shayne Bolton, 13 David Hawkshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Shane Jennings, 10 Jack Carty (captain), 9 Caolin Blade, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 Shamus Hurley-Langton, 6 Cian Prendergast, 5 Niall Murray, 4 Joe Joyce, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Dave Heffernan, 1 Denis Buckley
Replacements: 16 Eoin de Buitléar, 17 Jordan Duggan, 18 Sam Illo, 19 Darragh Murray, 20 Conor Oliver, 21 Matthew Devine, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Tom Farrell

Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Federico Vedovelli (Italy), Alex Frasson (Italy)
TMO: Matteo Liperini (Italy)

Source @ECPR

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