Belfast Telegraph

Leaders Connacht stand tall as they beat Edinburgh

Edinburgh 23-28 Connacht

Guinness PRO12 leaders Connacht held off a spirited Edinburgh fightback to claim a hard-fought 28-23 victory last night.

Connacht's tries came from AJ MacGinty, Jake Heenan, Bundee Aki and Eoin McKeon, with Craig Ronaldson kicking three conversions and MacGinty one.

The hosts trailed 14-0 at the break, but closed the gap to a point in the second-half as Chris Dean, Damien Hoyland and Cornell Du Preez all touched down and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne landed a conversion plus two penalties.

Connacht failed to breach a solid home defence until the 21st minute when Aki passed to MacGinty, who powered over. Ronaldson nailed the conversion.

Edinburgh lock Anton Bresler was shown a yellow for pulling down a maul and Connacht opted for the scrum and shunted the hosts backwards, allowing Heenan to dive over. Ronaldson again added the extras.

Edinburgh started the second-half well and claimed a try after 43 minutes when Hoyland threw out a long pass to Dean, who raced in at the corner.

Having clawed their way back, Edinburgh handed the initiative back to their opponents when Aki was allowed to stroll over untouched for a try which Ronaldson again converted.

With 51 minutes gone, Edinburgh struck back when Hoyland darted in and Hidalgo-Clyne swept over the conversion. It became even tighter when Hidalgo-Clyne passed to Du Preez for his side's third try.

The former hit a straightforward penalty on 68 minutes that left his side a one point behind.

However, Connacht secured the bonus, and the victory, when McKeon powered over and MacGinty added the conversion.

But Hidalgo-Clyne claimed a narrow defeat bonus point when he landed his second penalty.

Belfast Telegraph

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