Jump to main content


Celtic League: Connacht Cut Open, Munster Mash Borders

Celtic League: Connacht Cut Open, Munster Mash Borders

Eric Elwood’s last stand at the Sportsground ended in defeat to the Ospreys on Sunday afternoon, meanwhile Munster ran in five second half tries to overhaul the Borders in Netherdale.

Eric Elwood’s last stand at the Sportsground ended in defeat to the Ospreys on Sunday afternoon, meanwhile Munster ran in five second half tries to overhaul the Borders in Netherdale.

Celtic League: Sunday, April 10
Connacht 13 Neath-Swansea Ospreys 22, The Sportsground
Scorers: Connacht: Tries: Matt Lacey, Matt Mostyn; Pen: Mark McHugh
Ospreys: Tries: Jonathan Thomas, Gavin Henson, Shane Williams; Con: Henson 2; Pen: Henson

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

The 36-year-old Elwood could do little on his Galway swansong as league winners the Ospreys ran amuck in the opening half.

Three tries – all in the space of eleven minutes – did the damage for Lyn Jones’ men as Connacht failed to take advantage of Ulster’s slip-up at Cardiff on Friday.

Michael Bradley’s men are just a single point ahead of the Blues – who currenty reside in tenth – as the hunt for that Heineken Cup qualification play-off spot against Italy’s third-ranked side next month, hots up.

Lining out for the 170th time, Elwood led out a home side in desperate need of a first league victory at the Sportsground since November.

And while the Irishmen struck first through a third-minute penalty from Mark McHugh, the Ospreys managed to tally up a devastating 22-3 lead through their free-running backs.

New Lion Gavin Henson initially levelled things at 3-3 on 18 minutes. Wales Under-21 fly-half Matthew Jones then popped an inside pass for Jonathan Thomas to out pace covering Connacht prop Stephen Knoop for the line.

Having drilled over the conversion, Henson then became the first player through the league’s 500-point barrier as a Jones flick saw the Ospreys full back outmuscle both Darren Yapp and Matt Mostyn to touch down in the right corner.

On 33 minutes, a swift move involving delicate hands from Jones, Henson and David Bishop put left wing Williams over in the left corner, for Henson to cannily curl the conversion in.

Incredibly that was to be the visitors’ last score of the evening as Connacht proceeded to dominate possession but fail to trouble the scoreboard until late.

A brace of Ospreys sin-binnings late in the first half for James Bater and Adam Jones – both for cynical infringements with their try line under threat – allowed Connacht back into it.

Flanker Matt Lacey bulldozed over on an injury-time lineout drive for his fourth try in three games.

A foot trip from Knoop on Stefan Terblanche saw Connacht down to 14 men in the closing stages of the first half and although Elwood missed the extras of Lacey’s try, the westerners still fought well.

A scoreless second half was ended in the fourth minute of injury time by a Mostyn try but with McHugh missing the conversion, luckless Connacht lost out on a much-needed bonus point.


(15) Matt Mostyn
(14) Conor McPhillips
(13) Darren Yapp
(12) Mark McHugh
(11) David Slemen
(10) Eric Elwood
(9) Chris Keane
(1) Ray Hogan
(2) John Fogarty
(3) Stephen Knoop
(4) Christian Short
(5) Andrew Farley (Capt)
(6) Michael Swift
(7) Matt Lacey
(8) John O’Sullivan

Replacements used: Adrian Clarke for Swift (43-53 mins), Bernard Jackman for Fogarty, Paul Warwick for Elwood, James Downey for Slemen (all 53), Michael Carroll for Farley, Mike Walls for Keane (both 69), Brendan O’Connor for Swift (73).

Ospreys: Gavin Henson; Stefan Terblanche, David Bishop, Sonny Parker, Shane Williams; Matthew Jones, Jason Spice; Duncan Jones, Barry Williams (Capt), Adam Jones, Andrew Newman, Jonathan Thomas, Ryan Jones, Richard Pugh, James Bater.
Replacements used: Paul James for Terblanche (43-49 mins), Andrew Bishop for D Bishop (55), Andrew Millward for A Jones (56), Lyndon Bateman for Newman (69), Richard Mustoe for M Jones (72), James for D Jones, Steve Tandy for Pugh, Richard Hibbard for B Williams (all 79).

Sin-bins: James Bater (Ospreys) (39 mins), Duncan Jones (Ospreys) (40), Stephen Knoop (Connacht) (42, first half)
HT: Connacht 8 Ospreys 22; Attendance: 2,600
Referee: Ian Heard (Scotland)

The Borders 23 Munster 38, Netherdale
Scorers: Borders: Tries: Stephen Cranston, Simon Danielli; Cons: Charlie Hore 2; Pens: Hore 3
Munster: Tries: Paul Devlin, Jerry Flannery, Donncha O’Callaghan, Rob Henderson, Mike Mullins, Anthony Foley; Cons: Jason Holland 4

Munster earned some much-needed target practice ahead of the Celtic Cup in two weeks’ time, as a five-try second half saw off the Borders in fine style at Netherdale.

Alan Gaffney’s men looked on course for their second defeat in the space of seven days – turning around at 23-7 down after a dreary opening – but a rousing set of scores from Jerry Flannery, Donncha O’Callaghan, substitute Mike Mullins, Rob Henderson and captain Anthony Foley saw the province’s Scottish hosts beaten into submission.

Borders’ top scorer Charlie Hore had kicked the home side in front on 9 minutes before a quick try-double from Stephen Cranston and Simon Danielli – pouncing on a poor Paul Devlin pass – had the basement side 17-0 in front.

Hore had converted both and claimed two more penalties – either side of former Ireland Under-21 Devlin’s try reply for Munster – for the Borders’ 16-point half-time buffer.

John Hayes’ sin binning for persistent ruck infringing before the break did little to aid Munster’s cause but the province roared back into contention.

Shannon hooker Flannery made full use of poor Borders marking to bag Munster’s second try in the second half’s first minute. Lock O’Callaghan – a welcome inclusion in the Lions touring squad on Monday – then pounced for the third on the end of some traditional maul magic on 55 minutes.

Fly-half Jason Holland converted substitute Mike Mullins’ midfield effort on the hour for a 26-23 Munster lead.

The party – although a small one in front of a meagre 1,400 spectators – was just getting going as former Lion Henderson skipped through for another try and Foley handed Holland an easy slot for his fourth conversion on 68 minutes, with a barge over score.

Borders: Stuart Moffatt; Simon Danielli, Stephen Cranston, Joe Pattison, Nikki Walker; Charlie Hore, Chris Cusiter; Tommy McGee, Ross Ford, Bruce Douglas (Capt), Mark Blair, Colin Stewart, Wayne McEntee, Andy Miller, Kelly Brown.

Replacements used: John Dalziel for Blair (53 mins), Stephen Scott for Ford, Geoff Cross for McGee (both 64), Gareth Morton for Cranston (68). Not used: Will Kay, Brendan McKerchar, Alistair Warnock.


(15) Shaun Payne
(14) John Kelly
(13) Paul Devlin
(12) Rob Henderson
(11) Anthony Horgan
(10) Jason Holland
(9) Frank Murphy
(1) Marcus Horan
(2) Jerry Flannery
(3) John Hayes
(4) Donncha O’Callaghan
(5) Paul O’Connell
(6) Stephen Keogh
(7) David Wallace
(8) Anthony Foley (Capt)

Replacements used: Mike Mullins for Payne (57), Alan Quinlan for Keogh, Peter Stringer for Murphy (both 60), Frankie Sheahan for Flannery (65), Trevor Hogan for O’Connell, Conan Doyle for Henderson (both 73), Not used: Eugene McGovern.

HT: Borders 23 Munster 7; Attendance: 1,400
Referee: Phil Fear (Wales)