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Connacht upset Dragons

jmcconnell 11 Apr 2006

Connacht secured back-to-back Celtic League victories for the first time since November 2004 thanks to a narrow 15-10 victory over Newport-Gwent Dragons.

The hosts, who had not won successive Celtic League matches since victories against the Ospreys and the Dragons in November 2004, upset their Welsh visitors who have now tallied just nine league points from their eight away games so far this season.

Connacht fly-half Mark McHugh kicked his side to victory with five successful penalties from six attempts to help his province to their third win of the season.

After missing with his first drop goal attempt, McHugh opened the scoring with an eighth-minute penalty.

The Dragons, who were looking for their first win in eight trips to Ireland, responded with a try from lock Luke Charteris, his first of the season.

Connacht fullback Paul Warwick coughed up possession in his 22 and Charteris gladly collected the ball before going over in the corner.

Fly half Craig Warlow added the extras and he and McHugh exchanged further penalties to leave the visitors 10-6 ahead at the break.

Bolstered by a following wind Connacht soon took control of the contest with McHugh slotting over a further brace of penalties as the Dragons were punished for ruck offences.

Connacht looked nervous until McHugh’s fifth successful kick came an incredible nine minutes into injury-time.

In the race for the Heineken Cup qualification play-off spot, Connacht are now four points behind the ninth-placed Dragons, who have two games in hand.