Pro14: Dragons 14-38 Connacht

Ashton Hewitt of Dragons is tackled by John Porch
Ashton Hewitt made his first appearance at Rodney Parade in the Pro14 since March 2018
Pro14: Dragons v Connacht
Dragons (7) 14
Tries: T Morgan, Basham Con: Davies 2
Connacht (17) 38
Tries: Thornbury, Healy, Bealham, Gallagher, Marmion Cons: Fitzgerald 5 Pen: Fitzgerald

Connacht ran in five tries in an efficient performance which saw them canter to a 38-14 Pro14 win over Dragons.

Tyler Morgan opened the scoring for the Dragons and Taine Basham went over with the final move of the game.

Connacht dominated the final hour, scoring through Gavin Thornbury, Matt Healy, Finlay Bealham, Cillian Gallagher and Kieran Marmion.

Conor Fitzgerald added 13 points, landing all six kicks at goal.

The Dragons came out strongly in Dean Ryan's first competitive home game in charge despite losing prop Brok Harris to a head knock after two minutes, but their opening quarter flattered to deceive.

Owen Jenkins, Ashton Hewitt and Jordan Williams all produced half-chances before Morgan cut through to score in the 19th minute, with Sam Davies converting.

Taine Basham scores Dragons' second try late in the game
Taine Basham scored Dragons' second try late in the game

But that was as good as it got for the home side as Thornbury's close-range score and Healy's kick and chase effort saw Connacht notch up 17 points in seven minutes.

The Dragons' lineout was misfiring badly and some over-ambitious handling in slippery conditions prevented them from building any reply.

A yellow card to visitors' wing John Porch and the early loss of Tiernan O'Halloran, Healy and prop Paddy McAllister, who was stretchered off after being knocked out, failed to interrupt Connacht's momentum with Bealham bundling over for their third after 48 minutes.

The home side were penned back for long periods with a series of TV referrals not helping their supporters' mood in the rain, before replacement flanker Gallagher sealed the bonus point nine minutes from time.

International scrum-half Marmion finished off a fine break by John Robb, Fitzgerald maintaining his 100 percent kicking record.

The Dragons finally replied in the last move of the game through Basham, Davies converting, but it was only a crumb of comfort.

Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan told BBC Sport Wales:

"We can't hide from it, that was a game where we weren't contesting certain areas to the (right) level. We started brightly, but we didn't adapt to the rain coming in and full credit to Connacht's pressure game, their physicality and carrying ball.

"We've challenged ourselves to play the game faster, but you can't hide from the basic physical challenges and we came very much second.

"This game reminds us that there's not another ten things to find out about, we've just got to be better at ten things we need to engage with."

Dragons: J Williams; O Jenkins, T Morgan, Warren, Hewitt; S Davies, R Williams (capt); Harris, Hibbard, Brown, J Davies, Screech, Taylor, Taine Basham, L Evans.

Replacements: Shipp, Cosgrove, Fairbrother, M Williams, Keddie, Knoyle, Botica, Dixon.

Connacht: O'Halloran; Porch, Godwin, Robb, Healy; C Fitzgerald, Blade; McAllister, McCartney, Bealham, Thornbury, Roux, Masterson, Butler (capt), Boyle.

Replacements: Delahunt,Buckley, Robertson-McCoy, Dillane, Gallagher, Marmion, S Fitzgerald.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR, 91st Championship appearance)

Referees: Dan Jones (WRU), Federico Vedovelli (FIR)

TMO: Charles Samson (SRU)

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