Connacht qualified for their first ever European semi-final on Saturday, coming from behind to beat Narbonne 16-10 for an aggregate win of 43-28.
Connacht qualified for their first ever European semi-final on Saturday, coming from behind to beat Narbonne 16-10 for an aggregate win of 43-28. Tries from full-back Mark McHugh, scorer of two penalties in their 27-18 win in the south of France last Saturday, and Australian lock Andrew Farley saw Connacht claim the biggest win since their inception in 1885. The Irish province went in at the break 10-3 behind thanks to full-back Nicholas Nadau's try three minutes into stoppage time, with former Leicester back Craig McMullen's conversion putting Narbonne just two points behind on aggregate. Connacht got the ideal start into a strong Galway breeze when veteran Eric Elwood, less than a month short of his 35th birthday, kicked a 30-metre penalty in the 14th minute. The visitors were dealt a double blow with two early sin-binnings, with influential Argentinian back-row Gonzalo Longo yellow-carded on 16 minutes, but they drew
level through McMullen five minutes before half time with a 40-metre penalty, as Connacht replacement John Fogarty went over the top. McMullen missed the chance to put the French side in front on aggregate four minutes after the break, his penalty into the wind falling short. That proved to be crucial as a Conor McPhilips' tackle six minutes later prevented Frederic Lartigue from crossing the home line, before McHugh lurched over for Connacht's first try on 65 minutes. Elwood's conversion came back off the left upright but the fly-half put them in front six minutes later with a penalty from close to the touchline. Farley's unconverted try three minutes from the end secured the win, with Connacht eagerly awaiting Tuesday's semi-final draw and a possible meeting with Harlequins, who contain former Connacht favourite Gavin Duffy in their side.
Tournament Director Garrett Tubridy sets the scene for an exciting weekend of rugby at UCD where 16 Women's Sevens teams will battle it out at for one qualifying spot for the Rio Olympics. Tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.ie/sevens.
Tadhg Furlong reflects on a disappointing day for Ireland against South Africa. However, he will take positives from his first Test start and be ready to build for the final match of the series in Port Elizabeth.
Paddy Jackson is preparing for Ireland's second Test against South Africa on Saturday (kick-off 5pm local time/4pm Irish time). The Ulster out-half has been checking out Ellis Park in advance of the match.
Nicole Cronin, the inaugural Irish Women's Sevens Player of the Year in 2014, is looking to make an impact on her return to the green jersey at this weekend's Rugby Europe Women's Sevens Grand Prix Series in Kazan, Russia.
The Ireland Women's 15-a-side captain Niamh Briggs was part of the Irish Development team that won the Amsterdam 7s title recently. Next up is the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series in Kazan, Russia this weekend and then a shot at Olympic Sevens qualification at UCD on June 25-26.
Experienced prop Andrew Porter speaks about the Ireland Under-20s' preparations for the World Rugby U-20 Championship and their opening pool encounter with Wales in Manchester later today (kick-off 5.30pm, live on TG4/Sky Sports 1).