Connacht became the seventh team to claim the Guinness PRO12 title with a magnificent display at BT Murrayfield, beating Leinster 20-10 to complete a dream season
In front of a record crowd for a Guinness PRO12 Final of 34,550, Pat Lam’s team scored three tries on the biggest day in their 131-year history.
While they were nervy in the opening exchanges once they got their hands on the ball, Connacht dominated the opening 40 minutes.
Able to open up Leinster with alarming regularity, they scored two fantastic first-half tries, through Tiernan O’Halloran and Niyi Adeolokun to lead 15-0 at the break.
While Jonathan Sexton cut the deficit with a penalty early in the second half, Matt Healy’s try just before the hour stretched the lead out to 17.
That was cut to ten when Sean Cronin went over to set up a huge last ten minutes but there was to be no comeback as Connacht produced one final effort to see it out.
Zane Kirchener’s late try at the RDS Arena made sure Leinster got revenge for their early season defeat to Connacht with a 21/11 win in the Guinness PRO12 last night.
Leinster – who were beaten 10-9 at the Sportsground on the opening day of the season – were in control from the off but struggled to kill off a spirited Connacht side who made the home team sweat.
The hosts went into the final stages ahead but a late try from George Naoupu moved the visitors to within three points, setting up a nervy finish.
But Kirchner showed quick thinking to steal in and dot down with moments left to ensure Leinster picked up their sixth win of the season.
Connacht Loosehead prop Brett Wilkinson has been forced into retirement due to a serious neck injury sustained in the last game he played for the club.
The 30-year-old South African has been with Connacht since 2006 and has played 183 times for the province.
Former All Blacks great John Kirwan has been appointed as Blues coach in Auckland replacing Pat Lam for the next two Super Rugby seasons.
The Blues franchise heaped even more pressure on embattled coach Pat Lam by revealing that they are going to put his job up to tender.
In a statement on Wednesday the franchise said the position of Blues head coach for 2013 will be advertised.
Three things struck me about yesterday’s game – The Stormers didn’t succumb to the Blues mind games, the tight five finally seemed to strike a chord, and the manners of the Newlands crowd are despicable.
Shortly after the final whistle in the Bulls’ 29-23 loss to the Blues on Saturday night, Johannes Gideon Nel dodged security and threw a plastic bottle at the players, the Pretoria franchise said in a statement.
Nel struck Blues captain Keven Mealamu.