Leinster, for some the best rugby union team in the last years, started 2021 with its historic 26-0 winning streak in Pro14 coming to an end, although they had also lost against Saracens 17-25 back in September, at the European Rugby Champions Cup.
Leinster started slow and Connacht were the first to score with a try and conversion that put them up 0-7. Connacht were physically aggressive from the first minutes and won the first line-out.
At 22′ Jack Carty (IRL) scored a try again and soon after Scott Penny (IRL) scored the first for Leinster but Carty scored again with a penalty. And he did again. And then he scored a conversion after Alex Wootton (IRL) got it over. Connacht were already up 5-25 at the halftime.
Leinster started the second half better and Luke McGrath (IRL) scored first but then came yet another penalty score by Carty to end the momentum.
Ryan Baird (IRL) scored a try for Leinster at 58′ and David Hawkshaw (IRL) did as well soon after but that try was invalidated due to an obstruction.
A Connacht scrum gave them time, then they punted, tried, and Carty scored yet another penalty that earned him the Guinness Player of the Match and gave Connacht the 24-35 that sealed a huge win for them.
The day started with three unbeaten teams but as we reported earlier, now it is only Ulster that remain unbeaten in Pro14 Rugby.
Leinster: Max O’Reilly, Andrew Smith, Jimmy O’Brien, Rory O’Loughlin, Dave Kearney, Johnny Sexton, Luke McGrath, Peter Dooley, James Tracy, Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Devin Toner, Ryan Baird, Scott Penny, Dan Leavy
Replacements: Seán Cronin, Ed Byrne, Greg McGrath, David Hawkshaw, Jack Conan, Hugh O’Sullivan, Liam Turner, Will Connors
Connacht: John Porch, Peter Sullivan, Sammy Arnold, Tom Daly, Alex Wootton, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade, Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Eoghan Masterson, Conor Oliver, Sean Masterson
Replacements: Jonny Murphy, Matthew Burke, Conor Kenny, Ultan Dillane, Cian Prendergast, Colm Reilly , Diarmuid Kilgallen, Ben O’Donnell