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|34 - 6||
- Guinness PRO12
- 28th Sep 2012
- KO 20:00
- Ground: Galway Sportsground
- Att: 5,813
Connacht see off Leinster
Parks stars in bonus-point victory over Heineken Cup holders
Connacht gave their season a big boost with a 34-6 victory over Leinster in the RaboDirect PRO12 at the Sportsground.
First-half tries from David McSharry, Fetu'u Vainikolo and Tiernan O'Halloran fired the hosts into a 22-6 half-time lead, with debutant Dan Park pulling the strings at fly-half.
Leinster were unable to wrest back control of the game and Eric Elwood's men secured a memorable bonus-point success with closing tries from George Naoupu and Ronan Loughney.
Parks, the league's record points-scorer, was a steadying presence at number 10 as Connacht faced into a buffeting wind early on.
Ian Madigan opened the scoring for Leinster five minutes in, drilling a penalty over to punish Johnny O'Connor for sloppy ruck play.
Michael Swift was inches away from marking his record 150th league appearance with a try, Tom Sexton doing well to deny the Connacht veteran as he crashed over the try-line.
From the resulting scrum, centre McSharry cut clean through - fed by Parks - to score a fine try to the left of the posts. The former Scotland international added the extras.
Madigan replied for the visitors courtesy of a meaty penalty kick from the left, however injuries to Gordon D'Arcy, Quinn Roux and Rob Kearney left Leinster needing to adjust.
Connacht took full advantage, relishing the ferocity of the forward exchanges and using the ball intelligently to put their backs into the space afforded to them by a lacklustre Leinster defence.
On one such occasion McSharry injected pace into a move and the supporting Robbie Henshaw sent Vainikolo breaking away on the left, with the Tongan winger stepping inside John Cooney's final challenge to score.
Parks clipped over the conversion from the left and, as Leinster continued to struggle, a break from O'Halloran followed up by a clever Parks punt almost saw Kieran Marmion get in under the posts.
Connacht kept the pressure on and, when Brendan Macken interfered with Marmion at the base of a ruck, the Leinster centre was shown a yellow card.
The remaining 10 minutes of the first half saw Leinster leak eight more points. O'Halloran scrambled over in the right corner from an Eoin Griffin pass, and with time up Parks landed a long-range penalty.
Joe Schmidt sent on all-Ireland international front row of Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Mike Ross, early in the second period, as Leinster started to play with more directness.
Madigan missed a penalty opportunity and despite better results up front, Leinster were unable to hit back on the scoreboard.
Leo Auva'a fumbled a long, inviting pass from Madigan as one of their most promising attacks ended in a knock-on.
Connacht were forced on the defensive, particularly after O'Halloran was sin-binned for not releasing a tackled player, but Leinster lacked their usual cutting edge.
After Henshaw went close with a drop goal effort, Leinster lose Auva'a to the sin-bin and Connacht seized their opportunity again - a lineout maul provided the platform for number eight Naoupu to plunge over.
That unconverted fourth try was followed by a final seven-pointer, replacement prop Loughney showing his alertness at a late line-out to touch down and replacement Miah Nikora converted to put 28 points between the sides.
Leinster even missed out on a consolation try in stoppage time as Healy had a foot in touch before he muscled his way over in the left corner.
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Friday 27th February|
|19:35||Ospreys vs Leinster|
|19:35||Ulster vs Scarlets|
|Saturday 28th February|
|19:15||Munster vs Glasgow Warriors|
|Sunday 1st March|
|12:45||Cardiff Blues vs Edinburgh|
|17:00||Zebre vs Dragons|
|17:15||Connacht vs Treviso|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:35||Cardiff Blues vs Connacht|
|19:35||Glasgow Warriors vs Zebre|
|Saturday 7th March|
|14:40||Ospreys vs Munster|
|17:15||Scarlets vs Leinster|
|18:00||Benetton Treviso vs Edinburgh|
|Sunday 8th March|
|16:00||Dragons vs Ulster|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:35||Leinster vs Glasgow|
|19:35||Ulster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 28th March|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Zebre|
|14:40||Scarlets vs Edinburgh|
|17:15||Munster vs Connacht|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Cardiff Blues|
|19:35||Benetton Treviso vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 11th April|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Munster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Scarlets|
|14:40||Connacht vs Ulster|
|Sunday 12th April|
|16:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Leinster|
|Friday 24th April|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Zebre|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|Dragons 25 - 30 Connacht|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Glasgow 19 - 16 Ospreys|
|Scarlets 25 - 25 Munster|
|Friday 20th February|
|Edinburgh 17 - 20 Ulster|
|Leinster 29 - 8 Zebre|
|Benetton Treviso 40 - 24 Cardiff Blues|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Leinster 14 - 16 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Zebre 10 - 54 Glasgow|
|Scarlets 32 - 14 Connacht|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Munster 33 - 16 Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 13th February|
|Edinburgh 24 - 16 Ospreys|
|Ulster 43 - 3 Benetton Treviso|
|Sunday 11th January|
|Ospreys 22 - 11 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Benetton Treviso 20 - 24 Ulster|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Zebre 7 - 31 Munster|
|Cardiff Blues 13 - 22 Leinster|
|Friday 9th January|
|Connacht 13 - 16 Edinburgh|
|Glasgow 22 - 7 Scarlets|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com