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Elwood Left To Rue Missed Chances

Elwood Left To Rue Missed Chances

Connacht were left to rue a couple of gilt-edged try-scoring chances as they fell to a 16-12 RaboDirect PRO12 derby defeat at the Sportsground on Saturday.

After their previous home defeat, a one-point loss to Edinburgh, there was more heartbreak for head coach Eric Elwood whose side might have crossed the line twice but for last-ditch tackles from Munster.

“As you can imagine we are pretty peed off to say the least,” said Elwood after the interprovincial clash. “We felt we did enough in the second half and created opportunities.

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“It wasn’t our best first half and a bit of indiscipline fecked away the chance. Certainly in the second half we felt we created enough opportunities to win that game.”

With Connacht leading 6-3 the game turned on its head in the space of five first half minutes. On the half hour, Tongan winger Fetu’u Vainikolo came within metres of putting the home side into a healthy lead, but a covering Ian Keatley brilliantly brought him into touch.

Four minutes later, Connacht hooker Jason Harris-Wright was sin-binned for a ruck offence and the westerners then controversially conceded a penalty try which made Elwood livid.

“I don’t know where that came from to be honest, like a couple of other decisions I wasn’t happy with. It was a turning point in the game.

“It seems to be a new buzz thing (to give quick penalty tries). There was one (penalty try in the game between Leinster and Ulster) and one last week.

“We keep hearing you have got to be understanding to the elements, be it lineout throwing or secure footing underfoot. It wasn’t a penalty try. I spoke to (Munster head coach) Rob Penney and he was a bit amazed where it came from too.”

Elwood was pleased though with how Connacht fought their way back in the second half. At 16-12 down, Dan Parks missed a penalty before the hosts created the game’s best try-scoring opportunity.

George Naoupu thought he had crossed the whitewash when racing onto a grubber kick in the left corner, but the tenacious Peter Stringer did enough to send the big lock sliding over the sideline before he could ground the ball.

It was a difficult lesson for Elwood’s charges to take, although he acknowledged that his side created the chances to win the game.

“We are creating chances but at this level you have got to be able to take them because that’s what wins you ball games.

“It’s encouraging but at the end of the day, Rob is going home with four points and I’ve nothing bar a losing bonus point. That is the heartbreaking thing.”