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Carty score decisive as Connacht fight back to beat Ospreys

By PA
(Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Jack Carty’s second-half drop-goal proved just enough for Connacht to edge out Ospreys 22-19 in an entertaining clash in Swansea. Both teams scored three tries each but Ospreys will reflect on surrendering an early 12-0 lead as they were left with just one win from their opening seven United Rugby Championship fixtures.

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Connacht’s tries came from Alex Wootton, Caolin Blade and John Porch, with Carty converting two to go along with his ultimately crucial drop-goal. Huw Sutton, Reuben Morgan-Williams and Sam Parry crossed for Ospreys, Jack Walsh adding two conversions.

Number eight Jarrad Butler led out Connacht on his 100th appearance but his side soon fell behind to a third-minute try. A chip ahead from Morgan-Williams bounced favourably for the Ospreys as Luke Morgan collected before Sutton capitalised by forcing his way over.

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Morgan-Williams was soon back in the thick of the action by creating and scoring Ospreys’ second try. From a ruck 30 metres out, the scrum-half was aware that the blindside was uncovered so he sent Keiran Williams racing away in that channel before the centre’s return pass allowed Morgan-Williams to coast in.

Ospreys suffered a setback when Ethan Roots was yellow-carded for a high challenge but the flanker was able to return with no damage done to the scoreboard. Despite conceding 12 points inside the opening 10 minutes, the visitors had the better of territory and possession in the first 30 minutes but inaccuracy in their passing and stubborn defence from the hosts prevented them from benefitting.

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Eventually, Ospreys’ defence cracked when a long pass from Carty provided Wootton with a simple run-in before Connacht suffered an injury blow when full-back Tiernan O’Halloran limped off. The Irish region immediately overcame that blow to score their second try when centres David Hawkshaw and Tom Farrell combined cleverly to split the defence, with Blade on hand to pick up and score. Carty’s conversion gave his side a 14-12 interval lead.

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The second half saw Connacht maintain their momentum and when the home side lost a crucial lineout, Porch was able to increase their advantage by strolling over. That try was the only score of a featureless but well-contested third quarter, with one sharp burst from Keelan Giles the only notable piece of play.

A 30-metre drop-goal from Carty gave Connacht a two-score lead and that ended up proving key as Ospreys ensured a tight finish when Parry crashed over for their third try, reducing the gap to three points. However, the hosts could get no nearer and had to be content with a losing bonus point.

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