Mack Hansen, debutant Shayne Bolton, Oran McNulty, Sam Arnold, Caolin Blade and Conor Fiztgerald all crossed for Connacht, who were also awarded a penalty try; Sam Arnold and Joe Hawkins replied with tries for the visitors
Last Updated: 26/11/21 10:04pm
Connacht’s admirable sense of adventure at a wind and rain-lashed Sportsground was rewarded with a 46-18 bonus-point win over the Ospreys.
The Westerners led 18-11 at half-time after playing into the big wind, Mack Hansen touching down after just 129 seconds and debutant centre Shayne Bolton and Oran McNulty also scoring tries.
Luke Morgan had an opportunist score for the Ospreys, with Stephen Myler booting two penalties to Jack Carty’s one.
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 though and centre Arnold brilliantly broke through a couple of tackles to crash over, while 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.