Connacht’s RaboDirect PRO 12 campaign has suffered further derailment after league leaders, Ospreys, condemned the Irish province to their seventh straight defeat, in all competitions, at the Sportsground on Saturday.
Ospreys’ out-half Matthew Morgan and replacement Sonny Parker touched down in either half in a closely-fought game, on a windy and wet night in Galway and, now, Connacht remain winless in the Rabo league since mid-September.
Connacht started the game on a positive front, hoping to take advantage of the Ospreys long list of injuries and personal on international duty and, deservedly took the lead on 15 minutes through the boot of Miah Nikora as Ospreys debutant Chauncy O ‘Toole was penalised for a ruck offence.
The away side were probing in midfield throughout and Connacht’s defence was unforgiving with many a man-and-ball tackle, made by Dave Mcsharry and Henry Fa’failli.
Morgan returned the compliment five minutes later as Dave Gannon was penalised for an offence at the ruck to leave it 3-3 with 21 minutes gone.
This would to be a sign of things to come as Ospreys impressive, counter-rucking proved fruitful, with referee Andrew McMenemy correctly cautioning the home side for holding on.
The teenage out-half was pivotal in everything the Welsh side did in attack and his try on 31 minutes involved a step of the highest quality, leaving Gavin Duffy flat-footed, and raced under the posts for an easy touchdown.
His easy conversion was followed by a Nikora penalty five minutes later to leave it 10-6 at half-time and this would be the last time the home side would score.
Connacht took the game to Ospreys in the second-half and a period of domination took the home side into try scoring territory, but numerous futile attempts followed, even the binning of Ospreys Ian Gough didn’t reap rewards.
The visitors always looked dangerous on the counter and Duncan Jones raced clear from a lineout and off-loaded to Richard Fussell whose quick hands fed Parker to slip in on 61 minutes. Morgan added the extras before missing a penalty shortly after to leave it 6-17.
Connacht continued to probe but a lack of vision and guile in the oppositions 22’ resulted in errors at the breakdown, frustrating both the payers and fans alike.
As the clock ticked down, the Ospreys broke away again, but replacement Hanno Dirksen was, somehow, unable off-load in a two on one situation and the Welsh side easily held on to take the spoils.
(15-9)Gavin Duffy (c); Brian Tuohy, Dave McSharry, Henry Fa’afili, Tiernan O’Halloran; Miah Nikora, Paul O’Donohoe;
(1-8)Brett Wilkinson, Adrian Flavin, Rodney Ah You, Dave Gannon, George Naoupu; TJ Anderson, John Muldoon, Ray Ofisa.
Replacements: Ethienne Reynecke, Ronan Loughney, Stewart Maguire, Mike Kearney, Eoghan Grace, Frank Murphy, Niall O’Connor, Mark McCrea.
Ospreys: (15-9) Barry Davies; Tommy Bowe, Andrew Bishop, Ashley Beck, Richard Fussell; Matthew Morgan, Rhys Webb;
(1-8)Duncan Jones, Richard Hibbard, Aaron Jarvis, Ian Gough, James King, Tom Smith (capt), Chauncey O’Toole, Joe Bearman.
Replacements: Mefin Davies, Cai Griffiths, Joe Rees, James Goode, George Stowers, Tom Isaacs, Sonny Parker, Hanno Dirksen.
For more on the RaboDirect PRO 12 clickhttp://sports.betfair.com/ ‘&rfr=16791’