Connacht were made to work hard to grab a 24-12 bonus-point victory over a valiant Kings side in Galway on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
A brace from wing John Porch, who grabbed a try in each half, set Connacht up for a victory that was tighter than they would have hoped as they turned in an unusually sloppy performance, making 13 handling errors in total.
The Kings, who came into the game looking for their second successive away win, would have been disappointed not to have come away with more despite working hard and feeding off Connacht’s errors.
Tries from outside centre Erich Cronje and fullback Scott van Breda, who continues to perform during his short-term loan from the Worcester Warriors, kept the visitors in the match and gave them hope of snatching a losing bonus point, which they were denied when Porch scored his second minutes into the second half.
Bundee Aki was able to celebrate his new long-term contract with Ireland Rugby and Connacht by opening the scoring with a well-worked try in the 12th minute on his return to the starting lineup.
The victory keeps Connacht in the hunt to top Conference B as they trail leaders Munster by just a single point. The Kings, meanwhile, remain bottom of the conference with six points from their first seven games of the season.
Connacht – Tries: Bundee Aki, Finlay Bealham, John Porch (2). Conversions: Conor Fitzgerald.
Kings – Tries: Erich Cronje, Scott van Breda. Conversion: Van Breda.
Connacht – 15 Matt Healy, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 John Porch, 10 Conor Fitzgerald, 9 Caolin Blade, 8 Paul Boyle, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Eoghan Masterson, 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Denis Buckley.
Subs: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 Matthew Burke, 18 Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 19 Joe Maksymiw, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Angus Lloyd, 22 Jack Carty, 23 Peter Robb.
Kings – 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Christopher Hollis, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Howard Mnisi (c), 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 JT Jackson, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 Thembelani Boli, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Aston Fortuin, 4 Jerry Sexton, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Subs: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Xandre Vos, 18 De-Jay Terblanche, 19 Bobby de Wee, 20 Ruaan Lerm, 21 Theo Maree 22 Siya Masuku, 23 S’bura Sithole.
Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images