Sun 14 Mar 2021 | 04:54

Edinburgh scores dramatic late winner to keep Euro dreams alive

Edinburgh scores dramatic late winner to keep Euro dreams alive
Sun 14 Mar 2021 | 04:54
Edinburgh scores dramatic late winner to keep Euro dreams alive
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PRO14 WRAP: Edinburgh’s Nathan Chamberlain converted his own last-minute try to rescue a 15-14 victory from the jaws of defeat against 14-man Connacht at the Sportsground.

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Captain Jarrad Butler’s 56th-minute dismissal for a high tackle left Connacht clinging on, but flyhalf Chamberlain slalomed through for the killer score which keeps his side in contention for Champions Cup rugby next season.

* In the other Saturday match Dragons’ remote hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions Cup were finally extinguished as a strong Ulster side secured a 26-22 victory at the Principality Stadium.

The Saturday action!

Connacht 14-15 Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Nathan Chamberlain converted his own last-minute try to rescue a 15-14 victory from the jaws of defeat against 14-man Connacht at the Sportsground.

Captain Jarrad Butler’s 56th-minute dismissal for a high tackle left Connacht clinging on, but flyhalf Chamberlain slalomed through for the killer score which keeps his side in contention for Champions Cup rugby next season.

With the first use of a blustery wind, Connacht bookended the first half with tries from academy centre Sean O’Brien – on his first start – and Shane Delahunt to lead 14-5.

Magnus Bradbury touched down for Edinburgh on the half-hour mark and they left it late to punish 14-man Connacht. Chamberlain drew them closer with a penalty before using late line-out possession to slip in under the posts.

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The Scottish side, whose game last week against Benetton was postponed, came under immediate pressure with Gavin Thornbury charging down a Charlie Shiel kick.

The hosts kept pressing and worked the ball wide for 22-year-old centre O’Brien to power over in the fourth minute. Jack Carty converted for a 7-0 lead.

A terrific no-look inside pass from prop Lee-Roy Atalifo saw Edinburgh finally fire in attack. Fellow front-rowers Michael Willemse and Pierre Schoeman gained good ground before Bradbury knocked on.

There was no mistake from the Edinburgh lock in the 31st minute as he finished off some patient round-the-corner driving. Bradbury’s try owed much to a brilliant initial break past halfway from Chamberlain.

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However, with tighthead Jack Aungier carrying forcefully, Connacht hit back on the stroke of half-time. Hooker Delahunt crossed from a second maul attempt near the left corner and Carty added a crisp conversion for a 14-5 half-time advantage.

The third quarter developed into a bit of a stalemate, with Edinburgh failing to profit from an advancing maul and the Westerners unable to build on a threatening burst from Alex Wootton.

The game swung massively in Edinburgh’s favour when Butler was dismissed for his head-high tackle on Andrew Davidson, which referee Chris Busby deemed a ‘shoulder charge’ with ‘no wrap’.

Eroni Sau surged up inside Connacht 22-metre line, and although the home defence held firm, Chamberlain made it a six-point game with a 69th-minute penalty.

Although a Niall Murray line-out steal edged Connacht closer to the finish line, some costly penalties pinned the Irish province back and Chamberlain exposed some tiring tackling to touch down and add the vital conversion.

Play of the match

Edinburgh stand-off Chamberlain provided a moment of real class in the build-up to Bradbury’s try.

Using a sharp dummy and sidestep, the 20-year-old accelerated past three defenders and paved the way for the forwards to do the necessary damage.

Player of the match

Chamberlain was ultimately the match-winner thanks to his classy match-winning try but the top performer was Thornbury.

The Connacht lock was a terror around the pitch again, winning turnovers, stealing line-outs and blocking kicks.

The scorers

For Connacht
Tries: O’Brien, Delahunt
Cons: Carty 2

For Edinburgh
Tries: Bradbury, Chamberlain
Con: Chamberlain
Pen: Chamberlain

Teams:

Connacht: 15 Alex Wootton, 14 Ben O’Donnell, 13 Sean O’Brien, 12 Tom Daly, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoghan Masterson, 7 Jarrad Butler (captain), 6 Cian Prendergast, 5 Gavin Thornbury, 4 Niall Murray, 3 Jack Aungier, 2 Shane Delahunt, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Jonny Murphy, 17 Jordan Duggan, 18 Conor Kenny, 19 Abraham Papali’i, 20 Conor Oliver, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Conor Fitzgerald, 23 Oran McNulty.

Edinburgh: 15 Damien Hoyland (co-captain), 14 Jack Blain, 13 James Johnstone, 12 George Taylor, 11 Eroni Sau, 10 Nathan Chamberlain, 9 Charlie Shiel, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Ally Miller, 6 Luke Crosbie, 5 Andrew Davidson, 4 Magnus Bradbury, 3 Lee-Roy Atalifo, 2 Mike Willemse, 1 Pierre Schoeman (co-captain).
Replacements: 16 Sam Kitchen, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Angus Williams, 19 Jamie Hodgson, 20 Mesu Kunavula, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Charlie Savala, 23 Mark Bennett.

Referee: Chris Busby
Assistant referees: Eoghan Cross, Stuart Gaffikin
TMO: Olly Hodges

Dragons 22-26 Ulster

Dragons’ remote hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions Cup were finally extinguished as a strong Ulster side secured a 26-22 victory at the Principality Stadium.

Due to the poor state of their Rodney Parade pitch, Dragons have been forced to play their last three home league fixtures at the national ground.

Dragons needed to win them all to stand any chance of qualification but they fell at the first hurdle as Ulster fielded a near first-choice side despite them having no chance of progressing to the PRO14 final after last week’s defeat to Leinster.

Stewart Moore scored two of Ulster’s tries, Alby Mathewson and John Andrew the others, with Michael Lowry adding three conversions.

Ollie Griffiths, Jonah Holmes and Rio Dyer scored Dragons’ tries with Sam Davies kicking a penalty and a conversion. Josh Lewis added a conversion.

Davies missed an early penalty as Dragons had the better of the opening exchanges but it was Ulster who opened the scoring in the 14th minute with an excellent try.

On a run from inside his own half, Irish international full-back Jacob Stockdale brushed aside some weak tackling to provide Mathewson with an easy run-in.

Ulster was now firmly in their stride and it came as no surprise when Moore scythed through the Dragons’ defence for a second try.

Davies responded with a simple penalty before Dragons built up a head of steam. They pressurised the visitors’ line with a succession of five-metre scrums and when Ulster hooker Andrew was sin-binned they looked sure to score.

However, stubborn defence from the Irish saw them keep their line intact to retain a 14-3 lead at the interval.

Three minutes after the restart, Dragons lost flanker Harri Keddie to a yellow card for a deliberate offside and when Andrew returned, he immediately finished off a driving line-out to leave the hosts with a mountain to climb.

After 50 minutes Dragons brought on Nick Tompkins, who had been released from the Wales squad, just in time to see Griffiths force his way over from close range.

The home side looked set for a comeback but a telegraphed pass from Davies was intercepted by Moore who raced 55 metres to score his second.

With 10 minutes remaining Ulster number eight Nick Timoney was sin-binned for killing the ball and spirited Dragons capitalised with tries from Dyer and Holmes to earn a deserved losing bonus point.

Play of the match

Ulster was struggling for a foothold in the match and there appeared to be nothing on when Stockdale collected a speculative clearance in his own half and only 10 metres from the touchline.

However, the full-back powered past the first defender before racing away to send Alby Mathewson over and Ulster was on their way to a hard-fought victory.

Player of the match

Lowry has enjoyed a breakout season and continued his impressive form with another superb performance.

He dictated things at flyhalf and his three conversions helped keep Ulster in control.

The scorers

For the Dragons
Tries: Griffiths, Dyer, Holmes
Cons: Davies, Lewis
Pen: Davies

For Ulster
Tries: Mathewson, Moore 2, Andrew
Cons: Lowry 3

Teams:

Dragons: 15 Josh Lewis, 14 Jonah Holmes, 13 Aneurin Owen, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Rhodri Williams (captain), 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Ollie Griffiths, 6 Harrison Keddie, 5 Joe Maksymiw, 4 Joe Davies, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Lawrence, 17 Josh Reynolds, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Ben Carter, 21 Dan Baker, 22 Gonzalo Bertranou, 23 Nick Tompkins.

Ulster: 15 Jacob Stockdale, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Stewart Moore, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Rob Lyttle, 10 Michael Lowry, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Nick Timoney, 7 Sean Reidy, 6 David McCann, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Alan O’Connor (captain), 3 Ross Kane, 2 John Andrew, 1 Eric O’Sullivan.
Replacements: 16 Brad Roberts, 17 Callum Reid, 18 Gareth Milasinovich, 19 Cormac Izuchukwu, 20 Matty Rea, 21 David Shanahan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Ethan McIlroy.

Referee: Adam Jones
Assistant referees: Ben Whitehouse, Dan Jones
TMO: Ian Davies

Source: @PRO14Official

PV: 22
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Edinburgh scores dramatic late winner to keep Euro dreams alive | Rugby365