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Connacht

  • Carr,
    Penalty goals: Parks (2),
    Drop goals: Parks,
14 - 11

Newport Gwent D'gons

  • Amos,
    Penalty goals: Tovey (2),
  • Guinness PRO12
  • 21st Dec 2013
  • KO 17:00
  • Ground: Galway Sportsground
  • Att: 4,033

RaboDirect Pro12: Connacht end run of eight league defeats

Last updated: 21st December 2013  

Hallam Amos Wales Rugby union Millennium Stadium Cardiff

Hallam Amos: Newport Gwent Dragons wing scored early try

Connacht Dan Parks Rugby union Heineken Cup

Dan Parks: Connacht stand-off kicked two penalties and a drop goal

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Dan Parks' late drop goal earned Connacht a 14-11 win against Newport Gwent Dragons at a rain-lashed Sportsground, their long-awaited second win of the RaboDirect PRO12 season.

Pat Lam's men had endured eight successive defeats since beating Zebre in round one back in September, falling to the bottom rung of the league table.

But despite going 8-0 down to the Dragons inside 16 minutes, Connacht - helped by a dominant scrum and line-out - fought their way to a gutsy three-point win.

Daniel Evans' early unconverted try was the difference between the sides at the break, the wind-backed Dragons establishing a 8-3 interval lead with Jason Tovey and Parks swapping penalties.

Two more successful kicks from Parks and Tovey followed and Lyn Jones' side maintained their 11-8 lead despite losing prop Owen Evans to the sin-bin.

But Connacht produced the stronger finish with Parks setting up replacement Fionn Carr for a 75th-minute try and then nailing his vital drop goal with just over a minute left.

Reshuffle

The sixth-minute withdrawal of centre David McSharry, who picked up an ankle injury, forced Connacht to shuffle their back-line with Carr introduced and both Robbie Henshaw and Gavin Duffy making positional switches.

It was Henshaw's missed tackle that allowed Ross Wardle to break through midfield in the eighth minute and tee up full-back Evans for his five-pointer.

Tovey, who had missed an earlier penalty, was back on target with a 16th minute penalty as the Welsh region kept pressing with a strong wind at their backs.

However, Connacht then used their solid scrum to build some momentum, with youngsters Eoin McKeon and Michael Kearney both prominent in the set-pieces.

A scrum penalty allowed Parks to knock over a 33rd minute penalty and as the strength of the wind dropped noticeably, Connacht's forwards exerted more influence with the visitors' chances to attack curtailed.

The gap was down to just two points after Parks kicked a penalty early in the second half, punishing young lock Cory Hill for being caught offside.

Possession

A good spell of possession saw the Dragons hit back with Tovey left-footing a long range penalty, but a yellow card was looming for the visitors as their own penalty count increased.

Loosehead prop Owen Evans was the man to see yellow on the hour mark, referee Alain Rolland sin-binning him for a foot trip. However, the home side suffered further frustration when Parks failed to convert the resulting penalty.

The Dragons kept it simple during a weather-beaten final quarter, with number eight Toby Faletau leading by example in terms of his sharpness on the ball.

But Connacht - driven on by man-of-the-match John Muldoon - pounced for a levelling try with five minutes left, Parks' deft crossfield kick being dotted down by the unmarked Carr out wide.

The former Scotland international narrowly missed his conversion attempt to the left, however, and Connacht needed to work their way downfield to set up a second shot at the posts for him - and he delivered.

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Guinness PRO12 Table

Guinness PRO12 Table - December 20 2014
Pos Team P Pts
10 Zebre 9 9
Forthcoming Guinness PRO12 Fixtures
TimeFixture
Guinness PRO12
Sunday 21st December
Guinness PRO12
16:00Dragons vs Zebre
Friday 26th December
14:05Cardiff Blues vs Dragons
17:00Munster vs Leinster
18:45Ulster vs Connacht
Saturday 27th December
14:40Glasgow vs Edinburgh
17:15Ospreys vs Scarlets
Sunday 28th December
14:00Zebre vs Treviso
Thursday 1st January
14:05Newport Gwent D'gons vs Cardiff Blues
17:00Connacht vs Munster
Friday 2nd January
19:35Edinburgh vs Glasgow Warriors
Saturday 3rd January
14:00Treviso vs Zebre
14:40Leinster vs Ulster
17:05Scarlets vs Ospreys
Friday 9th January
19:35Connacht vs Edinburgh
19:35Glasgow vs Scarlets
Saturday 10th January
14:40Cardiff Blues vs Leinster
15:00Zebre vs Munster
Sunday 11th January
14:00Treviso vs Ulster
16:00Ospreys vs Newport Gwent D'gons
Wednesday 14th January
TBCLeinster vs Newport Gwent D'gons
TBCScarlets vs Connacht
TBCEdinburgh vs Ospreys
TBCUlster vs Benetton Treviso
TBCZebre vs Glasgow
TBCMunster vs Cardiff Blues

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