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Connacht Torn Apart By Rampant Irish

Connacht Torn Apart By Rampant Irish

Connacht’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup will depend on victory over Dax in their final pool game after they conceded 11 tries to London Irish at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

London Irish booked a home quarter-final and did it in style, outscoring a much-changed Connacht side by 11 tries to one.

Connacht, with a host of players on board who did not feature recently against Munster, Leinster and the Scarlets, were on the back foot from the early stages.

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The current Guinness Premiership leaders ran in three converted tries in the opening 13 minutes to confirm their early dominance.

Danny Riordan pulled back a try for Connacht after 18 minutes but London Irish finished the half stongly to lead by 35-5 at the break.

They kept their foot on the gas in the second half, with full-back Peter Hewat finishing the game with five tries.

Connacht will now turn their attention to next Friday night’s game in Galway where a full strength side will be fancied to beat Dax and secure a place in the quarter-finals in April.

Speaking after the 70-point defeat, Connacht coach Michael Bradley said: “Friday’s game against Dax becomes the sole focus now. It is in our hands.

“Coming here was always going to be difficult but we have got enough results in the bag from the earlier games to leave us in a position where victory in our final game, at home, will be enough.

“We will go into that game with confidence despite the outcome of this one.

“You just cannot give that sort of space to a team like London Irish. They will punish you each time and they certainly did that to us (today).”