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Saturday, 28 September, 2002, 16:09 GMT 17:09 UK
Connacht stage grand recovery
Bridgend skipper Gareth Thomas
Gareth Thomas tests out the Connacht defence
Celtic League - Pool B
Bridgend 23-24 Connacht

Connacht completed a stunning recovery to pip Bridgend and keep their unbeaten Celtic League record intact and make sure of a place in the quarter-finals.

The Irishmen overturned a 17-point deficit and owed victory to a controlled display from their abrasive pack that wore down the hosts.

Bridgend's hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals now lie in ruins after suffering a third consecutive defeat.

  Scoring details:
Bridgend (17) 23:
Tries:
Molitika, D James.
Cons: Warlow 2.
Pens: Warlow 3.
Connacht (5) 24:
Tries:
McHugh, Yapp, Munn.
Pens: McHugh, Elwood 2.
Att: 2,000

The Ravens had surged ahead through a superb counter-attacking try from Tongan flanker Maama Molitika.

They built on that when British Lion Dafydd James made a storming run to score a brilliant touchdown by the posts.

The visitors lost skipper Tim Allnutt with a serious knee injury but it only served to spur his team-mates into action.

First a well-worked set move led to Wayne Munn crossing in the corner.

Connacht then proceeded to dominate the second half and Bridgend's possession completely dried up.

After Eric Elwood had landed a brace of penalties, the visitors worked an overlap for Darren Yapp to cross out wide.

Bridgend kept their noses in front thanks to a penalty hat-trick by Craig Warlow.

But it was not enough as the Irishmen punished a mistake with Elwood and Yapp linking to send full-back Mark McHugh over for the winning score.


Bridgend: Anthony Carter; Craig Richards, Gareth Thomas (capt), Dafydd James, Richard Mustoe; Craig Warlow, Sililo Martens; Christian Loader, Gareth Williams, Chris Horsman, Deiniol Jones, Andy Moore, Maama Molitika, Cory Harris, Nathan Budgett.
Reps: Huw Harries, John Funnell, Ben Phillips, Phil Booth, Jon Thiel, Richard Bryan, Ryan Jones.

Connacht: Mark McHugh; Ted Robinson, Darren Yapp, Tim Allnutt (capt), Wayne Munn; Eric Elwood, Chris Keane; Dan McFarland, Jerry Flannery, Peter Bracken, Damien Browne, Rowan Frost, Colm Rigney, John O'Sullivan, Eric Peters.
Reps: Ronan McCormack, Marnus Uijs, Michael Swift, Paul Neville, Eoin Reddan, Shane Moore, James Norton.

Referee: Robin Goodliffe (Sheffield).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Bridgend assistant coach Richard Webster
"A good 40 minutes followed by a bad 40"
Connacht coach Steph Nell
"With the wind at our backs we could win this"

The final

SEASON STATS

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING RUGBY
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