CONNACHT 43 WASPS 10 | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Aug  20   2018

On a balmy afternoon and perfect playing conditions, Connacht stung visitors Wasps 43-10 in an entertaining friendly that opened the rugby season at a packed Dubarry Park on Saturday. Due to recent international camps, both teams were missing many of their Ireland and England frontliners but, nevertheless, the big home crowd that included Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt went home happy following a very promising display by the team in green.


Wasps made the early running but in Connacht’s first attack of real menace Matt Healy made massive ground along the left flank before young Paul Boyle (who did very well throughout) was stopped just short of the Wasps line but the ball was recycled smartly to Tom Farrell who strode in for an 11th minute try converted by Jack Carty. Connacht suffered a setback when injury forced off new captain Jarrad Butler just three minutes later. Billy Searle then opened Wasps account with a 23rd minute penalty.


Connacht opted for touch with a kickable penalty close to the half-hour mark and their pressure, with Caolan Blade making life very difficult for his opposite number, saw possession moved via Carty who sent Healy haring towards the line where he stretched over for a 35th minute try. Home favourite Carty duly converted and the impressive fly-half was then most unlucky not to notch a try in the final move of the half, the female touch-judge deeming he had a foot in touch. Nevertheless, Connacht were worthy 14-3 leaders at the interval.


Both teams made changes for and throughout the second half. The Premiership side were more active in this regard but Connacht’s grip on the proceedings grew more pronounced as the match progressed. A smart quickly tapped penalty by Blade caught Wasps off-guard and his break found the home province with numbers over-lapping on the right where Cian Kelleher finished for a 46th minute unconverted try in the Bounty corner.


Ten minutes later, Niyi Adeolokun broke from the visitors ten metre line and wrong-footed Rob Miller for a try at the posts. As the game entered the final quarter, Rory Scholes eased in for Connacht’s fifth try. Substitute Craig Ronaldson converted both touchdowns to put the hosts 33-3 ahead.


Another Connacht replacement James Mitchell finished off further sustained pressure with a 72nd minute unconverted try before Wasps finally got over the home line when sub Callum Sirker touched down on 77 minutes. Searle added the conversion but Connacht had the final say when Conor Carey finished off a rolling maul to make it a magnificent seven tries in the last move of the game to complete the 43-10 rout.


While victory may not have been totally unexpected, Connacht’s winning margin surely was. Wasps performance was disappointing and for large swathes of the second half in particular they were far short of the commitment and enterprise shown by Connacht from start to finish.


Buccaneers put their best foot forward in the staging of this game. The pitch was in splendid condition and the club’s overall organisation for the event was top class. Connacht also put in a massive effort and Dubarry Park looked mightily impressive. A huge “Thank You” to all the club’s volunteers who ensured the smooth and successful operation of the occasion and it was wonderful to see an excellent attendance at this fine venue. Hopefully Connacht will return on a more regular basis.