Connacht come from behind to defeat Stormers

Connacht 19-17 Stormers

Connacht came back from a ten-point deficit in the second half to defeat the Stormers 19-17 in the Sportsground.

With strong winds and difficult conditions in Galway, it was a physical encounter, with both sides fighting for every inch in the first half.

Connacht had plenty of possession in the first quarter but failed to turn it into points as The Stormers defended strongly to keep them out.

Instead, it was the South African side who opened the scoring. Their powerful maul drove Connacht back 20 meters, and after a couple of passes, Sergeal Petersen dived over for their first try after 20 minutes.

Connacht responded and had taken the lead ten minutes later. After a number of phases that saw Connacht tap and go from penalties, Paul Boyle managed to squeeze through the defence to bring Connacht level. Conor Fitzgerald’s conversion gave Connacht the lead for the first time.

However, this was short lived as the Stormers had their second try. Connacht failed to deal with a Garryowen that was kicked ahead by Peterson. Support arrived from the Stormers, with the try eventually finished by Damien Willemse, with the Stormers leading 10-7 at half time.

The second half saw further misfortune for Connacht as the Stormers extended their lead. Shane Delahunt’s pass wasn’t held by Kieran Marmion, with Mannie Libbok racing from his own half to score Stormers third try.

Libbok converted to extend Stormers lead to ten.

Connacht responded and had a try disallowed following a forward pass by Conor Oliver. However, the momentum was with the side following Willemse’s yellow card and they got back into the game in the 59th minute.

Caolin Blade’s brake brough Connacht to just outside the 22, with an offload from Fitzgerald putting Tom Daly through for a try. Fitzgerald’s conversion made it a three point game.

The Stormers were lucky not to receive red, when Ruhan Nel saw yellow for a dangerous tackle on Conor Fitzgerald. With eight minutes remaining, Andy Friend’s men made their advantage count.

Daly spread the ball wide to Alex Wootton, who did well to get the ball to Peter Sullivan to score the game’s winning try.

Connacht held on for the final minutes to complete their comeback and secure their first home win since New Year’s Day.

Connacht tries: Boyle, Daly, and Sullivan

Stormers: Tries: S Petersen, D Willemse, M Libbok. Con: Libbok.

CONNACHT – J Porch; P Sullivan (T Farrell 66), S Arnold, T Daly, A Wootton; C Fitzgerald (Sullivan 68 HIA), K Marmion (C Blade 57); D Buckley (J Duggan 50), S Delahunt (J Murphy 72), T Tuimauga (J Aungier 41); N Murray (O Dowling 50), L Fifita; C Prendergast (A Papali’i 58), J Butler (C Oliver 50), P Boyle.

DHL STORMERS – S Petersen (C Smit 67); A Davids, R Nel, D Willemse, S Senatla, M Libbok, H Jantjies (P de Wet 68), S Kitshoff (A Vermaak 67), S Ntubeni (AH Venter 79), B Harris (N Fouche 67), A Smith (D Meihuizen 41), M Orie, D Fourie (J Pokomela 41), E van Rhyn (H Dayimani 66), E Roos.

Referee: Ben Blain (Scotland).

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