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    Penalty goals: Parks (2),
    Drop goals: Parks,
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    Penalty goals: Tovey (2),

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.


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.


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 - September 28 2014
Pos Team P Pts
11 Zebre 4 4
Forthcoming Guinness PRO12 Fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday 3rd October
Guinness PRO12
19:35Ulster vs Edinburgh
19:35Zebre vs Ospreys
19:35Connacht vs Cardiff Blues
Saturday 4th October
18:30Leinster vs Munster
Sunday 5th October
14:00Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow
16:00Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons
Friday 10th October
19:00Benetton Treviso vs Connacht
19:35Munster vs Scarlets
Saturday 11th October
14:40Edinburgh vs Newport Gwent D'gons
15:00Zebre vs Leinster
17:05Ulster vs Glasgow
Sunday 12th October
16:00Ospreys vs Cardiff Blues
Friday 31st October
19:35Ospreys vs Connacht
19:35Glasgow vs Benetton Treviso
19:35Leinster vs Edinburgh
Saturday 1st November
TBCScarlets vs Zebre
TBCUlster vs Newport Gwent D'gons
17:15Cardiff Blues vs Munster
Friday 21st November
19:35Ulster vs Ospreys
19:35Connacht vs Zebre
19:35Scarlets vs Glasgow
Saturday 22nd November
TBCNewport Gwent D'gons vs Munster
Sunday 23rd November
15:30Benetton Treviso vs Leinster
16:00Edinburgh vs Cardiff Blues
Friday 28th November
19:35Cardiff Blues vs Benetton Treviso

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Phil Edwards

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