Connacht 22 - 29 Edinburgh: Weir’s stellar late show secures win

Edinburgh's hero, Duncan Weir. Picture: SNS
Edinburgh's hero, Duncan Weir. Picture: SNS
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A brilliant final quarter from Duncan Weir helped Edinburgh take a huge step towards the Pro14 quarter-finals with victory over Connacht at the Sportsground.

Connacht seemed to be heading for victory when Finlay Bealham crept over for their third try 14 minutes from time but Weir, pictured, carried Richard Cockerill’s team to the win with a stellar finish including a charge-down try and three penalties.

Dougie Fife and Duhan van der 
Merwe also scored tries for the visitors in the first half, however it wasn’t until Weir’s arrival in the final quarter that they looked likely winners and he added to Edinburgh’s winning margin with a third penalty at the death.

With wins over Ulster, Leinster and Munster in the last six weeks it wasn’t as if Edinburgh needed an early confidence boost but barely ten seconds had elapsed when the home side handed them the perfect start.

Jaco van der Walt booted his kick-off deep into the Connacht 22 and it looked like a regulation exit for full-back Tiernan O’Halloran, but Edinburgh flanker John Hardie blocked his kick. Even then there seemed to be an easy route out of trouble for Connacht, however Matt Healy and Caolin Blade left it to each other and Fife dived on the ball as it crossed the try-line.

Edinburgh soon stretched that lead when Van der Walt kicked a penalty from under the posts, but after that score the home side finally began to have some success. There was a couple of false dawns, but after 12 minutes Connacht made the key pass stick with a slick move up the middle, which finished with Eoin McKeon sending O’Halloran through a gap for a converted try.

That score showed Connacht had a cutting edge to their play, and their second try soon arrived from another good move. Jack Carty was involved heavily in this move and it was his final pass that sent Tom Farrell through the hole for the lead try.

It was very much a case of attack dominating defence in the first half at the Sportsground, and a brilliant long pass from Chris Dean to Blair Kinghorn got Edinburgh around the edge of Connacht’s defence for a Van der Merwe try after 23 minutes.

Just before half-time Carty tapped over a penalty as Connacht led 17-13 at the break, but he then missed a penalty from the left after 49 minutes that would have pushed Connacht’s lead out to seven points.

Weir was only on the field two minutes when he put a point between the sides from the tee, but 14 minutes from time Connacht struck for home when Bealham picked from a ruck and armed with quick ball he wriggled over from half a yard to give 
Connacht a six-point lead to defend.

Weir kicked his second penalty five minutes later, but it was the replacement stand-off who blocked Craig Ronaldson’s kick, booted it through and won the foot face for the winning score.