The Dragons struggle to regain possession against Connacht as John Muldoon smuggles the ball forward.
Paul Turner's Dragons missed out on a chance to move into the Play-Off zone on Wednesday evening as they fell to a 16-3 loss at the Galway Sportsground
Ian Keatley and Fionn Carr did all the scoring as Magners League basement side Connacht continued the St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Galway with a surprise win over the play-off chasing Welsh Region.
Keatley kicked three penalties and converted Carr's first half try to extend Connacht's impressive unbeaten home run, which stretches back to September, and dent the Dragons' play-off hopes.
Paul Turner was missing Wales squad members Luke Charteris and Danny Lydiate from his side. They are on international duty this week while he was also unable to call upon the services injured trio of Adam Jones, Lewis Evans and James Harris.
Connacht were largely dominant and the Dragons were restricted to just a single penalty from 20-year-old out-half Jason Tovey.
It was clear from the off that Keatley, who is two years older than his opposite number, would have the better platform to work off as the Connacht forwards were very effective at set piece time, with lock Mike McCarthy stealing two Dragons lineouts.
That hard graft up front saw Keatley convert two penalty goals after 9 and 15 minutes and Michael Bradley's men moved 13-0 ahead at the midpoint of the half, completing a terrific breakaway try.
Scrum half Conor O'Loughlin used turnover ball to make a break and kick through for Liam Bibo to chase. He gathered well and found his fellow winger Carr with a lofted pass, and Connacht's top try scorer of the current campaign did the rest, outpacing the cover to score close to the posts.Keatley added the extras onto Carr's twelfth try in 16 outings this season.
The Dragons, with Toby Faletau making his first start and Andrew Coombs debuting as a replacement in the second half, showed signs of life with some strong running from centre Matthews Watkins.
But their wide men were kept out of the game as Connacht kept play tight. Tovey landed a penalty to cut the gap to 13-3 for half-time, after Tom Willis and his Dragons forwards were stopped five metres out.
However, the Dragons were off colour once again during a rather listless second half.
With John Muldoon and George Naoupu carrying well, Connacht built through the phases impressively, setting up an early penalty kick for Keatley which he sent through the posts.
The Ireland international missed two further place-kicks, and while the Dragons almost hit back with a try - Bibo produced a brilliant hit on Watkins to force a turnover - and ended the game camped on the home line, Connacht held firm to hand the Welsh side their first defeat in five matches.
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.
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RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.
A joint venture between the WRU and Admiral saw hundreds of children enjoy the Admiral Festival of Rugby held at the National Centre of Excellence at the weekend where Welsh internationals Sam Warburton, Scott Williams and Rob Evans were in attendance.
Wll Jones leads Wales U18s into battle this afternoon against Italy where the Welsh side will be seeking to bounce back from their narrow defeat to SA Schools in their opening clash of the U19 International Series
All four regions attended a successful training camp staged last weekend at the WRU National Centre of Excellence. It was a chance for new Wales Women's head coach Rowland Phillips to deliver his key messages to players and coaches as he prepares for the new season.
Wales U18 Team Manager Gethin Watts believes the next couple of weeks will be 'extremely beneficial' to the future of Welsh rugby as his side prepare to take part in the Under 19 International Series being staged in South Africa.
The WRU is searching for 12 new rugby development apprentices following a successful first year of its WRU Coach Core programme. Craig Duncan and Jess Hancock have flourished in the first year of the programme which has given them a real direction in their lives.
The WRU signed TV comedian Rhod Gilbert up to a 'Coaching Children Level 1' course before letting him loose on an U8s side at Whitland Junior Borderers - we went behind the scenes to film the making of 'Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience' see the results here.
Llandovery are aiming to make it three titles in a row in this year's Foster's National 7s being held at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday 28 August. Drovers assistant coach Simon Davies and Lee Rees assess their sides chances
A pioneering strength and conditioning programme has been delivered to more than 8000 boys and girls at hub schools throughout Wales this season, helping to develop stronger, more flexible athletes for rugby and other sports.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series returns to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on July 22nd when all four Welsh regions go head to head. Scarlets skills coach Dai Flanagan and Blues Elite Performance Pathway Manager Richard Hodges along with current Welsh squad members were at the launch of this season's event