Comeback win for Connacht
Replacements spark rally from Irish side
Last Updated: 23/09/11 9:50pm
Gavin Duffy: match-winning try
Eoin Griffin and Gavin Duffy scored second-half tries as Connacht battled back from a 13-3 half-time deficit to beat Newport Gwent Dragons 17-13.
Nathan Williams' first try for the Dragons helped put the visitors on top at the break.
Jason Tovey kicked two of his four penalty attempts, while Niall O'Connor's right boot was responsible for Connacht's only points until Griffin touched down coming up to the hour.
The converted try lifted Eric Elwood's men and with Matthew Jarvis adding the extras to Duffy's touchdown, the four-point margin was enough.
Tovey watched his first penalty attempt bounce back off a post, but from a similar position he gave the Dragons a seventh-minute lead.
In wet conditions, O'Connor levelled for Connacht with a well-struck penalty from distance and Ray Ofisa and Henry Fa'afili began to wield some influence in the loose.
O'Connor was off target from a central penalty, and both sides struggled to build momentum in attack.
With the wind proving a factor, O'Connor turned down a kickable penalty in the 23rd minute and some good approach work was foiled by an accidental offside.
The Dragons were patient and struck impressively for a 30th minute try. Matthew Pewtner popped up in the middle on an angled run that took him past Ethienne Reynecke, and the pressure eventually told as prop Williams crashed over.
Tovey converted and added a penalty after his initial break, with Connacht finding themselves 13-3 adrift - it would have been worse had the young out-half not miscued a late shot at the posts.
The second half was initially a stop-start affair, with Brian Tuohy the most threatening of the home backs as they tried to hit back at the Welshmen.
But replacement half-backs Paul O'Donohoe and Jarvis set the Connacht attack in motion, terrific hands down the short side seeing Griffin link with Tiernan O'Halloran and gather the return pass to score in the corner.
Jarvis followed up with a brilliant touchline conversion to close the gap down to three points, and with the 3,706-strong crowd raising the decibel level Connacht grabbed a crucial second try.
Duffy sniped through with ball in hand and after good continuity from the forwards, O'Halloran's inviting pass put his captain diving over in the corner, with Jarvis adding the extras from the left touchline.
Sat 16th May
Cardiff Blues29 - 5Zebre
Connacht20 - 24Ospreys
Edinburgh23 - 36Leinster
Glasgow Warriors32 - 10Ulster
Munster50 - 27Dragons
Treviso13 - 17Scarlets
Fri 22nd May - Semi-final
Glasgow Warriors0 - 0Ulster
Sat 23rd May - Semi-final
Munster0 - 0Ospreys