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Sunday May 29, 2016

Connacht win the PRO12 for first time by beating Leinster at Murrayfield

Connacht win the PRO12 for first time by beating Leinster at Murrayfield
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Connacht completely out-played Leinster in the PRO12 final at Murrayfield, securing their first ever major trophy in their history in front of a record 34,550 fans. They scored three tries and ran out 20-10 victors.

The odds were severely stacked against Connacht in real terms. Leinster, having won the title four times already were looking for their third in four years. For Connacht, this was their first major final of any kind in their history. But it didn’t show one bit.

Two tries within the first 25 minutes for Pat Lam’s side blew off any nerves they may have had and at the heart of it was Robbie Henshaw, who had a superb game. His bulldozing runs preceding Tiernan O’Halloran and Niyi Adeolokun’s scores were the mark of an Irish superstar of the future.

Adeolokun’s try was exceptional. The Nigerian-born winger’s chip-and-chase from otherwise scrappy ball to beat Rob Kearney to the line – along with Bundee Aki’s thumping hit on Sexton – was the pick of the first half’s action.

Leinster got themselves into gear early in the second period through a Jonny Sexton penalty, but Connacht were in reality, biding their time before their third try. USA internationalist AJ MacGinty was in fine form and his deft little chip ahead sat up perfectly for Matt Healy.

Leinster got a try back through Sean Cronin and it came as Connacht were temporarily down to 14 men, as O’Halloran left the field injured after a sickening contact with Ben Te’o. Sexton’s conversion good, the score was 20-10.

Leinster tried to muster up one final attack but Connacht held on to become deserving winners of the PRO12 for the first time in their history.

You can view match highlights in the video below:

Leinster: Rob Kearney; Dave Kearney, Gary Ringrose, Ben Te’o, Luke Fitzgerald; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross; Ross Molony, Mick Kearney, Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Jamie Heaslip. Replacements: Sean Cronin, Peter Dooley, TadhgFurlong, Hayden Triggs, Jack Conan, Luke McGrath, Ian Madigan, Zane Kirchner.

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy; AJ MacGinty, Kieran Marmion; Ronan Loughney, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham; Ultan Dillane, Aly Muldowney; Eoin McKeon, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon (capt). Replacements: Dave Heffernan, JP Cooney, Rodney Ah You, Andrew Browne, Sean O’Brien, John Cooney, Shane O’Leary, Peter Robb.

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4 Comments

  • hedderball
    10:42 PM 30/05/2016

    The one aspect of this whole story I find strange is how the English press has mostly ignored what is just a really great Cinderella, feel-good story plus the fact that are surely playing probably the most exciting brand of rugby in the NH at the moment. Their phase play and ability to keep their width is so impressive not to mention their rucking precision. The ultimate compliment is how like a NZ side they play. I wouldn't expect them to get beyond the group stages of the Champions Cup but when your total annual budget is $6m what would you expect?

    Reply
  • hedderball
    10:36 PM 30/05/2016

    Agreed - Ireland's loss is the Eagles' gain. He's come on leaps and bounds this season. Not bad for the third choice outhalf!

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    3:56 PM 30/05/2016

    Well done Connacht, always great to see these kind of "underdog" stories. Got to go to the game, great atmosphere and was a great game to watch. It seemed that the neutrals at the ground were backing Connacht. Which, after a certain Heineken Cup final several years ago, I was fully on board with :)

    Reply
  • dancarter
    2:35 PM 30/05/2016

    Pretty poor missed tackle from R Kearney for the 1st try. I was impressed with Connacht's desire to run the ball from deep inside their own half, whereas Leinster only tried that when they were chasing the game late on. Adeolokun was a real livewire throughout, he could beat a defender in a telephone box, and he looked like making something happen every time he got the ball. Bundee Aki absolutely smashed Sexton too, he has had one hell of a season. It's a shame Henshaw and Ah You are leaving Connacht.

    Reply
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Connacht win the PRO12 for first time by beating Leinster at Murrayfield | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos