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Four-try Connacht back at the summit

Bundee Aki scored the fourth and winning Connacht try as they returned to the top of the GUINNESS PRO12 table with a 26-21 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade.

Newport Gwent Dragons led 15-14 at half-time as tries by Adam Hughes and Ashton Hewitt were added to by the boots of Jason Tovey and Angus O'Brien.

That meant first-half scores for visiting Matt Healy and Tiernan O'Halloran were cancelled out, but while the hosts could only add two Angus O'Brien penalties after the break Connacht had no trouble crossing the whitewash.

They did so through Eoghan Masterson and Bundee Aki to secure the bonus point and a return to the summit of the GUINNESS PRO12, while Newport Gwent Dragons' run of winless games against Connacht stretches to seven.

Both sides showed good attacking intent from the off but it wasn't until the tenth minute that the first points were scored, Tovey splitting the posts after Aki was pinged at the breakdown 5m out.

This lead to some steady attacking from the hosts but in their first foray down the other end of the pitch Connacht proved to be clinical as John Muldoon's inside pass saw winger Healy race over for the game's first try, Craig Ronaldson adding the extras.

But the Dragons responded straight away with a score of their own, Hughes charging down a Caolin Blade attempted clearance before pouncing on his own hack forward to dot down.

With Tovey coming off injured and being replaced by O'Brien, Geraint Rhys Jones lined up the conversion but sent his effort wide.

With just over half the first 40 gone Connacht found themselves back in front after kicking to the corner following a scrum penalty. The Dragons defended the lineout well but the visitors spread the ball out wide and full-back O'Halloran was on hand to dot down on the left.

Ronaldson nailed the tough touchline conversion but the Dragons struck back almost immediately again, this time showing good hands among the forwards before Elliot Dee sent wing Hewitt over.

This time O'Brien converted and the Dragons held a narrow one-point lead after half an hour, one they kept up to half-time.

They stretched this lead moments into the second half as Rodney Ah You was pinged for charging with his shoulder, O'Brien slotting the penalty.

The Dragons kicked the next couple of penalties to the corner but after Connacht held firm O'Brien adding another three points at the third time of asking on 55 minutes.

With an hour gone Newport Gwent Dragons appeared comfortable at 21-14 but Connacht came roaring back as Masterson touched down from a powerful maul, although Ronaldson sent his conversion wide.

But Connacht did go ahead shortly after as Aki grabbed try number four for the visitors when he powered over from close range, this time Ronaldson adding the extras for a 26-21 lead with ten minutes remaining.

And despite some late Dragons pressure that is how it remained as Pat Lam's side climbed back into first place in the GUINNESS PRO12 table.

This post first appeared on All Things Ireland, please read the originial post: here

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