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Connacht climb into URC play-off places with win over Scarlets

By PA
Conor Oliver of Connacht after the United Rugby Championship match between Connacht and Scarlets at Dexcom Stadium in Galway. (Photo By Stephen Marken/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Connacht secured a third BKT United Rugby Championship win in a row as Sean Jansen’s 57th-minute bonus-point try gave them a 26-10 victory over Scarlets in Galway.

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Pete Wilkins’ men would have wanted to be further in front after having a first half wind advantage, but scores from captain Caolin Blade, Eoin de Buitlear and Jansen left them leading 19-7.

Despite Scarlets scrum-half Efan Jones marking his first URC start with a try, they were unable to build on that score during what was a stop-start second period.

Connacht’s Irish-qualified number eight Jansen effectively settled the issue ahead of the final quarter, as the westerners climbed four places in the table up to sixth.

The front rows were front and centre early on at Dexcom Stadium. Sam Wainwright did just enough to deny de Buitlear an initial try, before Jack Aungier broke a tackle and passed for Blade to finish off in speedy fashion in the fifth minute.

Following JJ Hanrahan’s conversion, Connacht used an eighth-minute turnover to attack from their own half, with good hands releasing 22-year-old hooker De Buitlear to make it 12-0.

Attack

231
Passes
108
159
Ball Carries
83
350m
Post Contact Metres
128m
9
Line Breaks
3

The Scarlets successfully disrupted two maul attempts from the hosts, but when De Buitlear tapped a penalty, Aungier’s swift pass allowed Jansen to drive in low and make it over the line.

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A Tomi Lewis interception had Dwayne Peel’s charges building some phases, and a sudden burst by Vaea Fifita saw him feed summer signing Efan Jones on his inside for a 15-metre run-in. Dan Jones converted.

Connacht had the best chance to score before the interval, but Andrew Smith just lost the ball from his grasp as he acrobatically dived towards the left corner, under pressure from Lewis.

Improved defence from the Scarlets, which saw Wyn Jones win a key breakdown decision and skipper Sam Lousi foil a Connacht maul, was duly rewarded with an early second half penalty from fly-half Dan Jones.

Experienced loosehead Wyn Jones won penalties at the breakdown and scrum, but the Welsh outfit blew two lineout opportunities. Jansen then stung them with his second try, which was awarded after a potential knock-on from Denis Buckley was ruled out by TMO Stefano Roscini.

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Knock-ons in advanced positions added to the Scarlets’ growing frustration, and Connacht were able to see out the game on their terms, albeit that a promising lineout platform was lost due to a Fifita steal.

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Shaylen 14 hours ago
Brumbies the best team in Australia but still nothing to show for it

The Brumbies have been the strongest side in Australia for a long time and that was down to their forwards and set piece which has always been good and has always been able to dominate their Australian counterparts. This year the lack of maul tries and also the lack of a stable scrum has been a real problem which was also something Nick alluded to in his article this week about the creaking brumbies tight five. Home advantage is key as you say and the Brumbies must find a way to score more bonus points. If the Brumbies are really serious about winning a title they need to do what Kiwi sides at the top do. They need to smash every Aus side with a bonus point at home while claiming losing bonus points in every game they lose and denying their rivals bonus points. In their 3 losses in NZ this year they were smashed. They only scored 60 tries which is middle of the road, their scrum came in at 73% which was one of the worst in the comp, tackle success at just 83% which was right at the bottom and in terms of metres, clean breaks, carries, offloads and rucks built they were in the middle plus they had the most yellows. They basically were just not dominant enough wile they can improve their discipline. They excelled at kicking and won plenty of lineout ball plus their rucks were secure at 97%. Not sure about turnovers but they weren’t bad there. They just need to be more clinical and give away less and they will give themselves the best chance to win the title.

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