Dejected Connacht players after the European Rugby Challenge Cup round of 16 defeat to Leicester Tigers at Welford Road this evening. Photo: Matt Impey / Sportsfile

Leicester Tigers knock Connacht out of the Challenge Cup

Connacht were knocked out of the European Rugby Challenge Cup at the round of 16 stage following a 48-32 defeat to Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

The westerners started well and took an early lead when Kieran Marmion touched down following Sean O'Brien's incisive break.

Leicester responded with two quick tries of their own, scored by Charlie Clare and Guy Porter, with Zack Henry converting the second one to give the hosts a 12-5 lead.

Jack Carty's penalty reduced the deficit to four points but even though they had Clare yellow-carded, Leicester ran in two more quick tries through Matias Moroni and Zack Henry.

A spell of Connacht pressure resulted in a second penalty for Jack Carty, leaving the scoreboard reading 24-11 at half-time.

The visitors were on the front foot from the start of the second half as well, and an Eoghan Masterson try was just reward for their efforts. Carty's conversion made it a six-point game with plenty of time to try and make up the gap.

A Zack Henry penalty stretched the gap again but Connacht were soon in for a second try of the half, substitute Caolin Blade with a brilliant pass to Alex Wootton and he did the rest. With Carty's conversion the deficit was now just two – 27 to 25.

Clare went over for his second try of the game following a rolling maul and with the conversion by Henry, the scoreline was 34-25 in Leicester's favour, but Connacht again responded and Paul Boyle played the captain's part by touching down after spotting a gap in a ruck. Carty converted and the deficit was back to two again, 34-32.

The game turned decisively in Leicester's favour after that, however, as both Harry Wells and Jasper Wiese went over the line, and the hosts eventually ran out 48-32 winners.

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