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.
Ireland captain Rory Best and forwards coach Simon Easterby spoke to the media at the Captain's Run press conference in Paris earlier today, ahead of Ireland's RBS 6 Nations clash with France on Saturday.
Looking forward to locking horns with France, Conor Murray said: "I know with the type of players and type of game Guy Noves likes to play, they can throw up anything. We've got to be ready for any style of game, an offloading game, a free-flowing game."
Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby chats about sharing the defence coaching duties, Sean O'Brien (tight hamstring) sitting out Wednesday's training session and also talks about the strength of the Welsh back row.
Andrew Trimble talks about coming back from injury to make Ireland's RBS 6 Nations squad and dealing with the excitement and nervousness ahead of a big game like Sunday's Championship opener against Wales.
We hear from returning front rowers Adam McBurney and Conan O'Donnell, captain James Ryan and fellow newcomer Paul Kiernan as the Ireland Under-20s look forward to opening the U-20 RBS 6 Nations on Friday night against Wales at their new home of Donnybrook.
Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong spoke about the excitement of facing his first RBS 6 Nations campaign, the challenge of scrummaging against Wales and his earliest memories of the Championship - which include apple pie!