Sloppy Connacht pay price against the rampaging Bulls


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Sloppy Connacht pay price against the rampaging Bulls Sloppy Connacht pay price against the rampaging Bulls

Bulls 53

Connacht 27


CONNACHT coach Pete Wilkins said it was disappointing to come away from Loftus Versfeld empty-handed and the way the match ended on a sour note when they had a penalty reversed for dissent as they went in search of a bonus point in the final play.

The Westerners got their third try two minutes from time and then came looking for a bonus point. Scrum-half and stand-in skipper Caolin Blade was taken out by a high tackle down the right and with penalty advantage, Connacht worked the ball across the field and seemed to create an opening when Shamus Hurley-Langton fed wide to top try-scorer Diarmuid Kilgallen, but replacement scrum-half Embrose Papier rushed up and knocked-on with little chance of ever intercepting.

“Where are your cards ref?”, shouted JJ Hanrahan at referee Gianlica Gnecchi, a question most Connacht fans were probably asking as well from an official who showed little hesitation earlier in binning Conor Oliver for offside.

But the Italian referee, who sent Bundee Aki off against the Stormers in Stellenbosch last season, was having none of it and reversed the penalty decision and a disappointing performance from Connacht ended on a dismal note.

“I don’t think it is something we can condone talking to referees under any circumstances if it is something that is going to draw that kind of response and that kind of penalty,” said Wilkins.

“Of course, we don’t want to have that in the game and certainly not from us. At the same time I understand players’ frustrations at the end of a big 80-minute effort but it was probably the frustration of us continuing to play the advantage, whoever it was, tipped him over the boiling point. I think those phases of hard work probably raised tempers when we thought why are we not just stopping and kicking into the corner.

Pictured: Connacht’s Diarmuid Kilgallen who was one of their try scorers in Saturday’s heavy URC loss to the Bulls.

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