Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Rugby | Heineken Cup

Dan Parks © Gallo Images

Parks provides spark for Connacht



Dan Parks was the driving force behind Connacht's 22-14 victory as they claimed the scalp of French giants Biarritz in the Heineken Cup clash at the Sportsground.

Parks kicked 17 points, including the conversion of Fetu'u Vainikolo's early try, to seal the province's second win in Pool Three.

Dimitri Yachvili kicked three penalties to leave the visitors 10-9 behind at the break, but Biarritz were decidedly brittle as Connacht's younger forwards outworked them.

Although Imanol Harinordoquy came off the bench to score an injury-time try, Yachvili missed the conversion for a losing bonus point.

It was a tremendous result for Eric Elwood's men, with Parks guiding a hard-running back-line and Mike McCarthy marshalling the young guns up front.

With Gavin Duffy, John Muldoon and Nathan White heading the province's 13-man injury list, Parks skippered Connacht and varied the play superbly early on.

After Yachvili nudged Biarritz ahead, Vainikolo struck for a superbly-taken try that really lifted his team-mates and the vocal home crowd.

David McSharry intercepted a pass from Charles Gimenez near halfway and offloaded for the Tongan winger to charge away for a score against the run of play.

Parks converted to put Connacht 7-3 ahead and the westerners missed out on a second try when Ireland lock McCarthy failed to spot Robbie Henshaw looping around him in plenty of space.

A series of penalties failed to budge the scoreline with the wind-backed Yachvili missing two shots at the posts, and Parks drifting a long-range attempt wide.

The Biarritz talisman was back on target at the midway point of the half, his second successful penalty following a decent bout of territory for the visitors.

But Connacht looked the more dangerous of the two sides off limited ball and Takudzwa Ngwenya had to concede a lineout as Tiernan O'Halloran chased hard.

The hosts pressed and Parks took the drop-goal option, in front of the posts, to reopen the four-point gap.

Biarritz looked lacklustre in thought and deed, and tigerish tackling from the likes of Willie Faloon, Michael Kearney and Eoin McKeon helped Connacht keep their defensive line intact.

However, the penalty count took its toll. Number eight McKeon was sin-binned for taking an airborne Iain Balshaw out and Yachvili snapped over a classy penalty to make it 10-9 at the interval.

Despite their greater experience and strength up front, Biarritz failed to hammer home their numerical advantage and Parks restarted the scoring in the second period with a penalty.

Connacht countered again moments later, tournament debutant Danie Poolman punching down towards the 22. Parks hung up a cross-field kick which O'Halloran was inches away from collecting.

Biarritz introduced the fit-again Harinordoquy as they tried to reassert themselves, but strong carries from McSharry and Henshaw preceded another Parks three-pointer.

Parks and company kicked cleverly to keep Biarritz pinned back and McCarthy and hooker Jason Harris-Wright kept the home forwards on the front foot.

They forced a scrum penalty that Parks missed to the right, yet further chances came and in the final 10 minutes the former Scotland fly-half landed an inspirational drop goal and a third and final penalty.

Biarritz's game descended into niggly phases, with their questionable attitude and temperament resulting in a couple of scraps between the forwards.

They did lift the tempo late on, powerhouse Harinordoquy piling over after O'Halloran was sin-binned during some desperate Connacht defence.

But Connacht deservedly failed to cough up the losing bonus point and they will head to south-west France for next week's return encounter with renewed confidence.

Shop

The Poisoned Chalice
The Springboks have had several post-isolation coaches, and if they agree on nothing else, they will concur that everyone in the job suffers enormous pressure
R157.00
Coach - Marco Botha
At 34, Heyneke Meyer was fired as head coach of a Super Rugby team for the second time
R114.00
South Africa XV Ball
South Africa XV Ball Now: R119 Was: R200 Format:Sport EquipmentProduct type:SportDelivery:Dispatched within 24 hours (1 working day) This fan ball...
R119.00


More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Sports Talk



Brendan Venter
Boks must improve off the ball
While local rugby supporters should feel genuine pride after the Springboks went toe-to-toe with...

Gavin Rich
Pollard should get the Kallis treatment
The past few days have provided another example of how quickly the mood of the South African rugby...

Tony Johnson
NZ, SA dish up another great test
Another tremendous test, and further evidence of the massive respect between New Zealand and South...

Brenden Nel
Boks v NZ battles - bring them on!
It came as an innocuous question from an All Black supporter on Twitter, but it summed up the...