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Connacht Rugby will aim to stay on top of European Rugby Challenge Cup Pool 5 this weekend when they travel to face Brive at Stade Amédée-Domenech. The Irish province are aiming to win their opening three games for the second season in a row, having won six of their last seven pool games away to TOP 14 opposition.
· The clubs have met four times previously with each match being decided by single figure margins, Brive winning three times and Connacht once.
· Brive have won their last seven home games and one more victory would represent their best run since winning nine in a row from December 2003 to December 2005.
· Connacht have stolen six lineouts so far this season, no team has won more after two rounds (level with Pau).
· However, it is Brive’s Jan Uys who has stolen the most lineouts of any individual, winning the ball three times on the opposition throw.
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Connacht Rugby stepped up to the Pool 5 summit in the European Rugby Challenge Cup on Saturday with a fiercely contested 38-31 victory at the Stade Amedee-Domenech.
- Connacht Rugby fly-half Jack Carty was influential throughout, tallying 23 points in total, including four penalties, three conversions and a try as the Irish province moved three points clear of Worcester Warriors at the head of the Pool 5 ladder.
- Lock Ultan Dillane, scrum-half Kieran Marmion and winger Cian Kelleher also scored tries in the bonus-point triumph, but Connacht Rugby were pressed hard by Brive in the Nouvelle region of France.
- Carty opened the scoring for Connacht Rugby from the kicking tee, but when the Pro14 outfit lost No 8 John Muldoon to the sin bin, Brive capitalised, scoring two tries through Mike Tadjer and Florian Cazenave during their 10-minute numerical advantage.
- Even with Connacht Rugby back to full strength, Brive continued to pull away as Julien Brugnaut crossed in a third try for the hosts, only for Dillane and Marmion to strike before half-time to leave it in the balance at 19-17 in favour of the home side at the break.
- Carty put Connacht back in front with a penalty, before Tadjer regained the lead for the hosts as he completed a brace of tries.
- Former Ireland Under 20 international Carty remained at the heart of the action as he raced in his own try, with a conversion to put Connacht back in front, and this time they would retain their advantage as the fly-half added two more penalty kicks either side of Kelleher's score.
- Guillaume Namy's 71st minute try gave hope to the home crowd, but Brive fell short, although they did claim two bonus points in defeat, which could prove crucial as the race for knockout stage places heats up.
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