Thursday 22 March 2018

Connacht come up trumps in Newport

Wing Fetu'u Vainikolo dashed over for a brace of tries as Connacht closed the gap on Italians Treviso with an excellent away 27-19 RaboDirect Pro12 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons.

Connacht have been the perennial poor relations to Ireland's big three provinces, but they looked anything but that at Rodney Parade where a top first-half performance was the deciding factor of the match.

Only last week the men from Galway pushed reigning league champions Munster all the way before going down 20-16.

And they continued that decent form in Wales before half-time, as the Dragons, even with their Welsh Grand Slam-winning heroes of Toby Faletau, Luke Charteris and man of the series Dan Lydiate back in tow, struggled to get any possession.

Vainikolo crossed in both halves, with stand-off Miah Nikora booting 17 points against a Faletau try and kicks from outside-half Lewis Robing and replacement Adam Hughes.


However, the home side were left frustrated in the opening half by some puzzling decisions from referee Giuseppe Vivarini that left the crowd furious.

Robling put the Dragons in front when Connacht were accused of a punch which referee Vivarini did not think warranted a yellow card.

However, from there, it was all Connacht until the interval, at which point the westerners led 19-9.

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