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Connacht thump Lions in Galway

URC REPORT: Connacht continued their winning run over South African teams in Galway after they thumped the Lions 43-24 in a Round 13 United Rugby Championship clash.


Since the United Rugby Championship started, South African teams have failed to get a victory at The Sportsground and the Lions never looked like they were going to break that record during the 80 minutes.

Connacht scrumhalf Caolin Blade was the star of the show as he scored three of his team’s six tries in the match.

The result for the Lions – their fourth straight defeat in the URC  – was a big blow to aspirations of reaching the quarterfinals and although they are not yet out of the running, this loss has left them nine points adrift of the Sharks, who are in eighth spot on the log after their win over Edinburgh earlier on Saturday.

The Lions, disrupted by a late change to their starting side with Ruhan Straeuli coming in for Emile van Heerden, were on the back foot for most of the match, with Connacht almost scoring at will in a match that delivered nine tries.

The hosts enjoyed 64 percent possession and 70 percent territorial advantage, while the men in red were forced to make almost double the amount of tackles than their opponents.

Scoring at regular intervals, the hosts had their fourth try in the bag before the break for a bonus point, while the Lions answered with two tries of their own in the first half, by Asenathi Ntlabakanye (prop) and Henco van Wyk (centre).


Leading by 29-17 at the break, Connacht were in control, but not safe. However, the situation changed in the third quarter as Blade added two more tries to his five-pointer in the 25th minute to all but secure the victory.

Credit to the Lions though, as they kept on pushing hard, and they were rewarded with 15 minutes to go when their captain, Marius Louw, scored their third try, but that was the last points on the board as Connacht recorded a comfortable victory, repeating their 33-30 win last season in Johannesburg.

Play of the match

Jack Carty became the highest points scorer in Connacht’s history and he was outstanding in the playmaker role on Saturday. However, the award goes to scrumhalf Caolin Blade, who scored three tries in the match.

Play of the match

Kilgallen’s opening try really set the tone for Connacht’s bonus-point winning performance, with half-backs Blade and Carty making sure the hosts profited from quick ruck ball. The pack did the donkey work, getting over the gain line, before a chink in the visitors’ defence allowed the young winger to accelerate past Jordan Hendrikse and dive over the whitewash.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Tries: Kilgallen, Delahunt, Blade 3, O’Halloran
Cons: Carty 5
Pen: Carty


For Lions:
Tries: Ntlabakanye, Van Wyk, Louw
Cons: Hendrikse 3
Pen: Hendrikse

Yellow card: Shane Delahunt (Connacht, 2′ cynical play, offside at ruck)


Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 Diarmuid Kilgallen, 13 Tom Farrell, 12 Cathal Forde, 11 John Porch, 10 Jack Carty (captain), 9 Caolin Blade, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 Conor Oliver, 6 Josh Murphy, 5 Niall Murray, 4 Darragh Murray, 3 Jack Aungier, 2 Shane Delahunt, 1 Peter Dooley.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Tierney-Martin, 17 Jordan Duggan, 18 Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 19 Leva Fifita, 20 Shamus Hurley-Langton, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Tom Daly, 23 Oran McNulty.

Lions: 15 Quan Horn, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Marius Louw (captain), 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 André Warner, 8 Emmanuel Tshituka, 7 Ruhan Straeuli, 6 Sibusiso Sangweni, 5 Darrian Landsberg, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2 PJ Botha, 1 JP Smith.
Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Morgan Naude, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Pieter Jansen van Vuren, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Morné van den Berg, 22 Manuel Rass, 23 Andries Coetzee.

Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Padraic Reidy (Ireland), Stuart Douglas (Ireland)
TMO: Brendan Pickerill (New Zealand)

Additional source: SA Rugby & URC

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