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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 November, 2003, 16:16 GMT
Edinburgh prove too good
CELTIC CUP
Edinburgh's Brendan Laney went over for two tries
Connacht (10) 25
Tries: Yapp 3
Cons: Elwood 2.
Pens: Elwood 2.
Edinburgh (14) 26
Tries: Smith, Laney 2, Lee.
Cons: Laney 3.
Att: 2,225

Two tries from Brendan Laney helped Edinburgh to a smash-and-grab Celtic Cup semi-final win over Connacht and set up a final meeting with Ulster.

The home side were dealt early blows with injuries to prop Ray Hogan and Australian lock Andrew Farley inside the first 10 minutes and they fell behind after 12 minutes through Craig Smith.

The prop collected a well-timed pass from New Zealand flanker Todd Blackadder and had little to do but dive over the line under the challenge of Connacht wing Conor McPhillips.

Laney, Edinburgh's top points scorer in Celtic competition, slotted the conversion over from a tight angle.

Six minutes later he added a second try and conversion as he ghosted onto Alistair Kellock's flipped pass to outpace centre Mark McHugh to the line.

Farley returned to the action and Connacht soon had their first points on the board as Eric Elwood punished a ruck infringement to drive over a penalty after 26 minutes.

The veteran fly-half was central to Connacht's revival and on 34 minutes Buccaneers centre Darren Yapp eased through slack defence to touch down, with Elwood converting to leave his side 14-10 down at the break.

Yapp went over for his second try five minutes into the second half but Elwood missed the conversion although he made amends three minutes later with a penalty from the Edinburgh 10-metre line.

But a 10-minute scoring burst from Edinburgh helped turn the game their way.

Edinburgh full-back Derrick Lee crossed in the left corner for his fifth Celtic try.

Then Laney, elusive in broken play throughout, scored a breakaway try from the halfway line, going under the posts to complete his brace, and easing over his conversion for a 26-18 lead.

Connacht gave themselves some hope when Yapp made it in for his and Connacht's third try with five minutes remaining, converted by Elwood.

But although Mark McHugh, scorer of seven kicks against Ulster last weekend, lined up three drop goals and a 50-metre penalty during four stoppage-time minutes, he could not make any count.


Connacht: Hewitt, Mostyn, Yapp, McHugh, McPhillips, Elwood, Walls., Hogan, Jackman, Clarke, Browne, Farley, Swift, Neville, O'Sullivan.
Replacements: Fogarty, Boiroux, McCarthy, Carter., O'Loughlin, T. Allnut, Munn.

Edinburgh: Lee, Webster, Di Rollo, Joiner, Southwell, Laney, Lawson, Jacobsen, Kelly, Smith, Murray, Kellock, Blackadder, Cross, A. Hogg.
Replacements: Di Ciacca, Mathieson, Pike, A. Dall, Burns, Warnock, Dey.

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRFU)




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