Harlequins have booked a place in the final of the Parker Pen Challenge Cup despite a second-leg loss to Connacht.
Harlequins have booked a place in the final of the Parker Pen Challenge Cup despite a second-leg loss to Connacht.Quins had gone into the game with a nine-point lead and looked on course for an easy win when Paul Burke's converted try put them 10-3 ahead. Connacht hit back with tries from David Yapp and Eric Elwood and spot kicks from Mark McHugh to edge four points ahead over the two legs. But Will Greenwood sealed Quins' place in the final with a 66th minute try. Connacht barely looked capable of competing in the early stages, struggling to contain Quins' exciting runners. Burke made them pay with a solitary spot kick and a text book dummy to glide across for his side's only try of the half. From the base of a scrum, Simon Keogh spun the ball out to the former Irish international fly-half, who slid in unopposed. After looking some way off the pace, Connacht stormed back into the game and deservedly levelled in the 25th minute after a passage of sustained This time, Michael Walls spread it to Elwood, who popped it in for the in-coming Yapp. McHugh duly converted the score, adding to an earlier penalty.
Harlequins' two-leg advantage was reduced to just six points straight after the re-start with a quick-fire Eric Elwood drop goal. And Elwood then moved his side in front in the 56th minute, leaving the opposition defence in disarray and beating the clutches of three tacklers to the line. In a captivating second half, the visitors forced their way back in when Greenwood bundled his way through a melee of Irish defenders. His try was enough to put his side a point clear over the two legs despite Burke's failed conversion. Burke then had two chances to stretch the lead, missing the first - an attempted drop goal - and making no mistake with the second - a simple penalty. They now face French side Montferrand in the final. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------Connacht: Mostyn; McPhillips, Yapp, McHugh, Munn; Elwood, Walls; McFarland, Jackman (capt), Bracken; Browne, Farley; Swift, Lacey, O'SullivanReplacements: Fogarty, Clarke, McCarthy, Neville, O'Loughlin, Moore, Robinson. Harlequins: Duffy; Harder, Greenwood, Deane, Monye; Burke, Keogh; Jones, Hayter, Dawson; Rudzki, Miall; Sanderson, Vos, Diprose (capt)Replacements: Dott, Gomez, Worsley, Davison, Sherriff, Willis, Dunne.
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).