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Connacht claim overdue victory

Connacht celebrated their first RaboDirect PRO12 victory since September as they put one over on their former head coach Michael Bradley with a 26-13 triumph.

Bradley's Edinburgh side struck for tries through Tim Visser and Chris Paterson, but the Irish province prevailed thanks largely to their tireless forwards and Niall O'Connor's 11-point kicking contribution.

The 4,324-strong crowd at the Sportsground watched the hosts end the first half with a 10-0 advantage, with Tongan international Fetu'u Vainikolo scoring his first league try.

Their lead was whittled down to just three points after Visser and Paterson touched down and replacement Phil Godman added a penalty.

But with John Muldoon in talismanic form, Eric Elwood's men finished the stronger - replacement Matthew Jarvis kicked a penalty and converted Mike McCarthy's last-minute try.

McCarthy's score took the losing bonus point away from the Scots and ensured that Connacht leapfrog over them in the league standings, going from 11th to ninth.

Ulster kept their play-off hopes alive with a 15-14 victory over Ospreys - a fourth win in their last five games taking them to fourth in the table with six regulation games still to play.

The game ended in high drama when the Ospreys' Eli Walker snatched a late try and then nearly got in again right at the end, which would have won it for the weakened visitors and done huge damage to Ulster's play-off hopes.

However, the Welsh side left Ravenhill with a losing bonus point to their name which keeps them in second.

Felix Jones made a try-scoring return to Thomond Park as his early score helped Munster scramble to a 16-13 win over the Cardiff Blues. Munster were left sweating by the finish as they were held scoreless in the second half, with the Blues battling back to within three points of their play-off rivals.


From Belfast Telegraph