Bonus-point win for classy Connacht against Ospreys

Bonus-point win for classy Connacht against Ospreys
© PA Images Ireland: Munster v Connacht – United Rugby Championship

Connacht claimed their third win of the United Rugby Championship season after they beat Ospreys 46-18 in a bonus-point win on Friday.

The Irish side led 18-11 at the break after playing into the big wind, wing Mack Hansen crossing after just 129 seconds and debutant centre Shayne Bolton and Oran McNulty also claiming tries.

Luke Morgan had an opportunist try for the Ospreys, with Stephen Myler booting two penalties to Jack Carty’s one.

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Sam Arnold and Joe Hawkins swapped seven-pointers, making it 25-18, before Morgan’s 58th-minute high tackle saw him sin-binned and concede a penalty try.

As the Ospreys fell to their second United Rugby Championship defeat, Connacht replacements Caolin Blade and Conor Fitzgerald made it a seven-try success.

The hosts took off at a rate of knots in the difficult conditions, Carty’s long pass finding winger Hansen, who stepped inside two defenders for an unconverted try.

Myler and Carty traded penalties for an 8-3 scoreline before another quick-fire attack – finished by 20-year-old South African Bolton – was rewarded with five more points.

Carty missed the conversion, as did Myler after a Connacht attack broke down, Owen Watkin twice hacked through and winger Morgan got the grounding for his try.

However, young full-back McNulty then took advantage of a defensive slip to scamper over from 45 metres out.

The visitors, who went close through hooker Elvis Taione, returned fire when Myler cut the gap to seven points.

Connacht were the aggressors on the resumption, centre Arnold brilliantly breaking through a couple of tackles to crash over. Carty squeezed over the conversion.

Back came the Ospreys, successive scrum penalties leading to Rhys Webb releasing teenage centre Hawkins to go in under the posts. Myler’s kick made it a seven-point game again.

Webb was well position to deny Connacht replacement Jack Aungier a try, but Morgan’s high tackle on the newly introduced Peter Robb, as he sought to score in the right corner, was a killer blow.

Connacht dominated the remainder, Blade wriggling free from Reuben Morgan-Williams’ grasp to go in under the posts. Carty unselfishly sent Fitzgerald over in the final few minutes.

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