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How Connacht's 140-second Hail Mary play produced the ultimate team try to flatten Gloucester

By Liam Heagney
Skipper Jarrad Butler will be thrilled with how Connacht finished their game against Gloucester (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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An error-ridden match in Galway finishing with a beautiful flourish on Saturday when Connacht stitched together a 19-phase Hail Mary play to snatch a Heineken Champions Cup victory from the jaws of defeat. 


It was an incredible sweep from their own 22 to score, all 15 of their players handling at some stage in the 140-second play that featured 34 passes and 18 carries to the ruck before Robin Copeland touched down for the converted try that grabbed an unlikely 27-24 win. 

Trailing 13-24 with time running out, Connacht had looked beaten after Gloucester celebrated scoring a bonus point fourth try on 69 minutes.

Even when Shane Delahunt touched down for a converted score on 77 minutes, a few minutes after the Cherry and Whites have been reduced to 14 players due to a sin-binning for Lewis Ludlow, it appeared as it was a consolation score that would only earn the hosts a losing bonus point. 

However, what unfolded after Gloucester launched a restart kick on 78:13 was remarkable as Connacht, who previously had been very prone to a series of sloppy handling errors, were suddenly glue-like on the ball. 

(Continue reading below…)

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It was a catch under the dropping ball by replacement Tom Daly that set in train the sequence that ended with Gloucester distraught and beaten behind their own posts.

Eighty-seven seconds and a dozen phases were retired to Connacht to move possession from their 22 into opposition territory, Copeland popping up on the touchline to carry over the halfway line. 

From there, another 53 seconds and seven phases were to pass before the try scored, Daly pitching up to handle for his fourth time in the move, taking a two-man tackle at the 22-metre line and offloading out of the contact to send Copeland galloping over.


The score was checked by the officials but was give the all-clear and further salt was rubbed into the Gloucester wound, Conor Fitzgerald landing the conversion to the roars of approval of a delirious home attendance. 


Stephen Kerins – 16 passes 

Conor Fitzgerald – 6 passes, 1 carry to ruck

Shane Delahunt – 1 pass, 4 carries to ruck 

Tom Daly – 3 passes, 1 carry to ruck

Jack Carty – 3 passes

Bundee Aki – 3 carries to ruck

Kyle Godwin – 1 pass, 2 carries to ruck 

Jarrad Butler – 2 carries to ruck

Robin Copeland – 1 carry to ruck, 1 carry to score 

Ultan Dillane – 1 pass

Finlay Bealham – 1 pass, 1 carry to ruck

Denis Buckley – 1 pass, 1 carry to ruck 

John Porch – 1 pass

Eoghan Masterson – 1 carry to ruck

Niall Murray – 1 carry to ruck

WATCH: Follow all the action from the Heineken Champions Cup in the RugbyPass Live Match Centre with commentary, stats, news and more, plus live streaming in some places – click Sign Up Now to see what is available in your region 

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How Connacht's 140-second Hail Mary play produced the ultimate team try to flatten Gloucester