Connacht 22-35 Dragons: Wales wing scores twice as Welsh side secure first win of season with remarkable performance

The Dragons won in Galway for the first time since 2004 as Dean Ryan’s men secured their first victory of the season with an impressive performance.

A brace from Jonah Holmes and further scores from Jordan Williams and Mesake Doge secured the bonus point in an outstanding performance by the Gwent side.

After two narrow, plucky defeats, Dean Ryan will have been delighted to see the Dragons pull away in a tight game with such conviction – while Wayne Pivac will have been delighted with how Wales contenders like Holmes and Taine Basham performed.

Connacht had edged the first-half, dictating proceedings through the boot of fly-half Jack Carty.

Two of his penalties had built a steady lead, although he did pull a third one which could be deemed a sitter even in the changeable conditions of Galway.

However, the Dragons grew into the half, with Sam Davies, who had never beaten an Irish province with the Dragons before this trip to Galway, getting them on the scoreboard with a penalty.

The mercurial talent of full-back Williams produced a moment of magic to then move the Dragons ahead.

His chip and chase opened up the stubborn home defence, before he freed the remarkable Holmes to race away and score in the corner.

However, just as they’d taken the lead, the pendulum rocked back again.

Will Rowlands was sent to the sin-bin for not rolling away – giving Carty the chance to push Connacht ahead which he duly took.

Rowlands’ absence meant the visitors spent the last ten minutes of the half under the kosh – with two crucial defensive interventions from Holmes ensuring it was only another Carty penalty that troubled the scorers before the break.

But back to a full compliment after the break, the Dragons kicked on in attack.

An increased attacking fluidity saw Williams glide past a couple of would-be tacklers to score himself – putting the away side in front once again.

Then a 50:22 from Davies handed the Dragons an immediate chance to extend their lead – with some strong carrying from the pack eventually seeing prop Doge force his way over for the Dragons’ third.

The home side responded well, with some red-zone pressure getting them their first try just before the hour-mark. Tricky winger Mack Hansen could have dotted down easily enough after being put in acres of space, but opted to step through three tackles on the line to make Carty’s conversion easier.

However, that still wasn’t enough as the fly-half pushed the kick to ensure the deficit was five points.

The Dragons compounded that missed kick as Davies extended their lead with a long-range penalty moments later.

And then they sealed the bonus point with 15 minutes to play as Davies stabbed a kick through for Holmes to dive upon after some effective phase play.

Connacht made it interesting as Connor Fitzgerald scored with seven minutes left, but another Davies penalty eased the fears of even the most nervous of Dragons fans.

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Ben O’Donnell, Tom Farrell, Tom Daly, Mack Hansen; Jack Carty,. Kieran Marmion; Matthew Burke, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Oisin Dowling, Ultan Dillane, Cian Prendergast, Jarrad Butler (capt), Paul Boyle.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Jordan Duggan, Jack Aungier, Leva Fifita, Conor Oliver, Caolin Blade, Conor Fitzgerald, Sammy Arnold.

Dragons: Jordan Williams; Jonah Holmes, Jack Dixon, Aneurin Owen, Jordan Olowofela; Sam Davies, Rhodri Williams; Greg Bateman, Elliot Dee, Mesake Doge, Will Rowlands, Joe Maksymiw, Harrison Keddie (capt), Taine Basham, Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: Taylor Davies, Aki Seiuli, Chris Coleman, Joe Davies, Ollie Griffiths, Gonzalo Bertranou, Josh Lewis, Adam Warren.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (SARU).

Relieve the action as it unfolded below:


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