Connacht win ugly to keep European hopes alive

Connacht's Darragh Leader on the attack against Worcester Warriors during Saturday's European Challenge Cup tie at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Connacht 15

Worcester 8

CONNACHT deservedly claimed the spoils but will worry that a lucky bounce of the ball was the difference on a day they were dominant.

How Worchester Warriors could have tied the game with the last play is mind boggling, given the territorial and possessional advantage the home team enjoyed.

Connacht made hard work of this European Challenge Cup clash. They spilled more ball than an average pub team, amassing at least 10 knock-ons, during a sloppy, error-ridden match that won’t live long in the memory of the 3,879 in attendance.

Strong winds on Saturday, the remnants of Storm Brian, certainly didn’t help, nor did a shower of rain immediately before kick-off, which made the ball greasy. But really Connacht couldn’t blame weather conditions for all of their elementary mistakes, and cheap turnovers, which drained go-forward momentum.

Connacht craved a win of real substance – beating a weakened Oyonnax by 30 points the previous week hardly counts; and while they secured victory, it cannot cover over the cracks of a below-par showing.  Two cup wins from two is encouraging but much improvement is needed for the visit of Munster to Galway this Friday night.

It was frustrating at times to watch. Darragh Leader’s overcooked penalty half an hour in, that failed to find touch and went out over the dead-ball line resulting in a scrum back for Worcester on half-way, was perhaps the lowlight of a scrappy first-half. By that stage, Connacht had accumulated five knock-ons as they struggled to settle and string phases together.

 

Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune