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Warriors Overcome Odds To Thrash Connacht

The Pontypridd pairing of fly-half Neil Jenkins and inside centre Jon Bryant ran the show as the Warriors cemented fourth spot in the Celtic League at the Brewery Field.

The crushing 23-point win means Welsh regions are second, third and fourth on the table.

The Warriors went into the match without eight international players and a fierce wind blowing straight at them, but they drew first blood when Jenkins
kicked a fifth-minute penalty goal from close range. The veteran fly-half finished the match with 20 points.

The lead didn’t last long. Visiting fly-half Dave Hewitt found a huge gap close to the Warriors’ line to score under the posts, with Mark McHugh adding the extras and extending the lead with a 17th-minute penalty goal as Connacht began taking advantage of the wind at their backs.

The Warriors tried to keep the ball in hand in the tricky conditions, but their adventure proved to be their downfall.

Little Connacht winger Conor McPhillips picked up a spilled ball on the halfway line and raced 50 metres to score in the corner, and a superb McHugh conversion had the Warriors reeling at 3-17 after only 20 minutes.

A beautifully worked backline move gave the home fans hope of a comeback as left winger Aisea Havili came across to join the line and jogged past a bewildered Connacht defence to narrow the gap to seven points.

The margin disappeared completely when skipper Bryant – who had a terrific game – powered his way over from 20 metres out as an impressive Warriors fightback left the scores deadlocked at 17-all at halftime.

Jenkins came into his own in the second half as he used the wind to keep the Irish players pinned in their own quarter. Prop Chris Horsman continued his impressive try-scoring form with another five-pointer from a rolling maul, and the brilliant right boot of Jenkins did the rest.

Promising backrower Ryan Jones provided the bonus-point try in the dying minutes as Connacht were held scoreless for the last hour of the match.

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