Last-gasp Parks drop goal earns Connacht win
December 21, 2013
Dan Parks successfully scored a last-gasp drop goal as Connacht rose off the foot of the RaboDirect Pro12 table by battling to a dramatic 14-11 comeback victory at home to the Dragons.
It looked like Connacht were heading a ninth consecutive league defeat as they trailed 11-6 with just five minutes remaining. But the league's basement boys had other ideas, scoring a try though Fionn Carr before Parks sent the Sportsground crowd into raptures with his late effort.
Dragons had started exactly as would have been expected as Dan Evans dotted down after just five minutes, before Jason Tovey and Parks shared a penalty each to make it 8-3 to the visitors at the break. The pair scored a further penalty apiece after the break as both teams struggled to make a further breakthrough for 15 minutes.
As the time ticked away it looked as though the Dragons would have done enough but with five minutes to go a cross-field Parks kick found Carr, who dived over in the corner. Parks missed the difficult conversion, but made amends four minutes later as he held his nerve to split the posts and end Connacht's awful league record.
Edinburgh consigned Leinster to their second defeat in a week as they won 11-6 at Murrayfield in the RaboDirect PRO12 on Friday evening.
Leinster fell to the Northampton Saints last weekend and despite having the likes of Brian O'Driscoll and Luke Fitzgerald in their ranks, Leinster failed to secure a try as Ian Madigan's penalties either side of half-time were all they could muster. Edinburgh played a tactically astute game and Dougie Fife's 31st minute try alongside Greig Laidlaw's pair of penalties saw the Scottish team secure a morale-boosting win.
The Ospreys won the Welsh derby as they defeated Cardiff Blues 22-19 at the Arms Park. With five British & Irish Lions on the field, there was plenty of Test class but it ended up being the battle of the boots as Dan Biggar out-kicked Leigh Halfpenny as he slotted 17 compared to the Lions fullback's 14. In a match which saw two tries, they were shared between the two teams with Kristian Dacey crossing for the Blues after 27 minutes and Justin Tipuric scoring for the Ospreys in the 48th.
Ulster returned from two highly successful weekends of European action by continuing their winning streak in the RaboDirect PRO12, but it was a far from convincing effort as they struggled against Zebre and the difficult conditions before claiming a 13-6 victory.
Fresh from back-to-back thrashings of Treviso in the Heineken Cup, Ulster battled from 6-0 down to record their fifth successive win in all competitions and they seventh victory in 10 league games. The hosts recovered from their early deficit thanks to a try from Jared Payne and a conversion and two penalties from Ruan Pienaar, but Zebre thoroughly deserved their losing bonus point.
Glasgow's game against Treviso was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?