Connacht give Ospreys a rugby lesson
PRO14 REPORT: Kieran Marmion’s double inspired a huge win as Connacht maintained their formidable home record with a 46-5 victory over Ospreys in a one-sided Pro14 tie.
Keen to bounce back from a heavy loss to Glasgow last week, Connacht bossed the early exchanges, with Tom Farrell crossing early before two penalties from the excellent Kyle Godwin extended the lead.
Matthew Aubrey hit back against the run of play before Matt Healy, Marmion and a penalty try restored Connacht’s dominance.
Marmion crossed again before Tom McCartney scored in a comfortable second half as the result was all but decided by Connacht’s early blitz.
Connacht flew out of the gates with a slick move to score their first through Farrell as a series of swift handoffs early on allowed the centre to cross the line in acres of space.
The Irish team continued to pile on the pressure early doors as they showed intensity with every drive to pin their opponents in their own 22.
Ospreys appeared to have repelled the pressure but gave away a needless penalty which Godwin dispatched with ease.
The flyhalf converted again as Connacht looked to be firmly in control, but Ospreys’ Olly Cracknell charged down a drop kick and the ball fell for Aubrey to score out wide against the run of play.
Godwin appeared to continue his blinder of a first half as he latched onto an opposition kick to storm past four defenders and cross the line.
But protests from the Welsh side over an off-the-ball block bore fruit as the try was ruled out and Ospreys’ remained well in it.
Godwin and Farrell set up Healy for Connacht’s second try with two incisive passes and the winger crossed between the posts to tee up an easy conversion for Godwin.
Marmion was then the beneficiary of a powerful team effort as Connacht drove a maul over the line on the half–hour mark.
Ospreys had chances to reduce the deficit before half time but two crucial interceptions saw the ball up the other end of the pitch, where Connacht were awarded a penalty try after a deliberate knock-on from Keelan Giles.
The Welsh side’s ill-discipline continued after the break as Jordan Lay received a yellow to give Connacht a two-man advantage.
Ospreys rallied well to gain some territory, but Marmion put any notion of a comeback out of sight as he was set up by Jarrad Butler to score between the posts.
With the victory secured, Connacht took their foot off the gas as they rung in the changes, but Ospreys failed to convert their increased possession into points.
Instead, McCartney further embellished the scoreline as he drove over powerfully following a scrum.
Tries: Farrell, Healy, Marmion 2, Penalty Try, McCartney
Cons: Godwin 4
Pens: Godwin 2
Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 Stephen Fitzgerald, 13 Tom Farrell, 12 Peter Robb, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Kyle Godwin, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Jarrad Butler (captain), 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Eoin McKeon, 5 Ultan Dillane, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Shane Delahunt, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Peter McCabe, 18 Conor Carey, 19 James Cannon, 20 Paul Boyle, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Tom Daly, 23 Cian Kelleher.
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Cory Allen, 12 James Hook, 11 Keelan Giles, 10 Luke Price, 9 Matthew Aubrey, 8 Rob McCusker, 7 Sam Cross, 6 Olly Cracknell (captain), 5 Bradley Davies, 4 James King, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Jordan Lay.
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Rowan Jenkins, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Lloyd Ashley, 20 Will Griffiths, 21 Harri Morgan, 22 Tom Williams, 23 Luke Morgan.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher, Matteo Liperini (Italy)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)