European Challenge Cup: Connacht 21-17 Brive
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|European Rugby Challenge Cup Pool 1|
|Connacht (11) 21|
|Tries: Parata, Marshall, Marmion Pens: Carty 2|
|Brive (5) 17|
|Tries: Acquier, Masilevu, Galala Con: Iribaren|
Connacht sit on top of Pool 1 of the European Challenge Cup after making it two wins out of two in the competition by beating Brive at the Sportsground.
Thomas Acquier scored the opening try for the visitors but a Rory Parata try and two Jack Carty penalties gave the Irish province an 11-5 half-time lead.
Ben Marshall and Benito Masilevu traded touchdowns, then Kieran Marmion crossed the line for Connacht's third try.
Sevanaia Galala's try was converted by Teddy Irabaren to see a tense finish.
Connacht held out however to maintain their 100% record ahead of next month's double header against Newcastle Falcons.
Brive missed two chances to open the scoring through the boot of Romain Sola, the fly-half sending both attempts wide of the target.
They did take the lead after 28 minutes on their way to a losing bonus point when hooker Acquier broke the deadlock with a score as he was mauled over the home line following a line-out.
Carty cut the deficit with a 33rd minute penalty as Connacht proceeded to rattle up 11 points in eight whirlwind minutes at the end of a tight first half.
Carty was at it again with a cross-field kick that Tiernan O'Halloran was on hand to tap back to centre Parata for his second try in seven days.
He also got on the scoresheet when Connacht picked up a bonus point in a 31-14 victory over Russian debutants Enisei-STM in Siberia last weekend.
Brive saw off Newcastle Falcons 13-9 in their opening fixture.
Carty added a penalty and there was more success with the ball in hand four minutes after the restart from an attacking scrum.
Connacht went through phase after phase in the Brive 22 and back-rower Marshall went over but Brive pulled themselves right back into the contest with their second try created by fly-half Matthieu Ugalde and finished off by wing Masilevu.
With the points coming thick and fast superb team work, with Robbie Henshaw prominent, ended with scrum half Marmion profiting for an 11-points lead in a tight affair.
The rush of points dried up until Brive replacement Galala went over from a line-out maul and fellow replacement Iribaren added the additional two points.
Connacht: Tiernan O'Halloran (capt), Rory Parata, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Danie Poolman; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Ronan Lougnhey, Jason Harris-Wright, Nathan White; Ben Marshall, Andrew Browne; Eoghan Masterson, Nepia Fox-Matamua, Eoin McKeon
Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Conan O'Donnell, Finlay Bealham, Danny Qualter, George Naoupu, Ian Porter, Craig Ronaldson, Niyi Adeolokun
Brive: Romain Sola; Elia Radikedike, Benjamin Petre, Christopher Tuatara, Benito Masilevu; Matthieu Ugalde, Jean-Baptiste Pejoine (c); Damien Lavergne, Thomas Acquier, Kevin Buys, Johan Snyman, Wilhem Steenkamp; Hugues Briatte, Poutasi Luafutu, William Whetton
Replacements: Guillaume Ribes, Goderzi Shvelidze, Giorgi Jgenti, Victor Lebas, Said Hireche, Teddy Iribaren, Alfifeleti Mafi, Sevanaia Galala