Connacht 26 - 13 Edinburgh: Michael Bradley’s unhappy return as Edinburgh slump to Connacht loss

EDINBURGH coach Michael Bradley said he had no complaints after leaving empty handed on his return to the Sportsground in Galway.

Edinburgh were denied a losing bonus point in the dying moments, but Bradley admitted afterwards that his former club Connacht had fully deserved their win. “We had good passages but we never gave ourselves a platform to win the match,” said Bradley. Connacht have been playing well all season and while they have not always got the results to match the performances, they deserved their victory.”

He added: “We just did not perform consistently enough to secure the result.”

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A fired-up Connacht side secured their first win since September in the RaboDirect PRO12 League and leapfrogged Edinburgh, who now sit third bottom in the standings, with only Newport-Gwent Dragons and Aironi below them.

The recent improvement shown by Eric Elwood’s men continued in good conditions as they recovered from a slow start to gain revenge on an Edinburgh side who turned them over earlier this season in Murrayfield.

Edinburgh dominated the early exchanges but they were unable to trouble the home defence, with Gregor Hunter missing a penalty from outside the 22.

The Connacht pack got on top and took control. Niall O’Connor edged them in front after 21 minutes with a penalty from 42 metres after Edinburgh were penalised for offside.

The dominant Connacht pack won ball off an Edinburgh scrum on the visitors’ 22 and from the turnover Tongan international Fetu Vainokolo’s got over for his first try since joining Connacht this season.

O’Connor added the conversion into the wind to make it 10-0 at the interval.

Connacht seemed poised for an easy win when O’Connor extended their lead to 13-0 with a 48th minute penalty from 45 metres.

But Edinburgh hit back with Tim Visser – who this week signed a contract extension with the capital side - finishing off a good move for 15th of the season and while O’Connor extended Connacht’s lead, Edinburgh again responded with Chris Paterson crossing after 55 minutes.

Phil Godman reduced the deficit to 16-13 with a 61st minute penalty but it was Connacht who seized the initiative and with John Muldoon and Michael Swift superb, they sealed the win.

Matthew Jarvis landed a penalty 12 minutes from time and while there was always the danger of an Edinburgh counter attack, it was Elwood’s men who wrapped up the issue and left the Scots without even a losing bonus point.

Connacht piled on the pressure in the closing minutes and were rewarded when Mike McCarthy crashed over in the right corner for a fine try.

Jarvis added the conversion for good measure from the right touchline to see them run out winners by double scores.

Elwood said afterwards he now wants Connacht to finish the campaign on a high.

“This win will give momentum. We head to Scarlets next week but we will go there with some confidence now after this win,” said the Connacht coach.