After a blistering start, Connacht held off a spirited challenge from the Cheetahs to grind out a second win from their South African tour in the sweltering conditions of Bloemfontein.
The Westerners are no strangers to extreme conditions, having played in the wilds of Siberia a couple of years ago, where the subs were handed blankets in the dugout. Today, they faced very different conditions, with the referee agreeing to schedule a couple of water breaks midway through each half.
Tom Farrell set the game alight on seven minutes, the inside centre making a break just inside the opponents' half and then showing nimble footwork to befuddle the last defender before touching down.
Jack Carty added a long range penalty on the 22nd minute and six minutes later, their lead was pushed out to 15-0. Lock Gavin Thornbury was the man with the ball when the visitors ground over the line with a driving maul.
The Cheetahs sprang to life after the half hour with Malcolm Jaer making a break from just outside his own 22 and tearing clear to score at the other end.
The hosts were emboldened and grabbed another score before the break with Joseph Dweba plucking the ball from the back of a rolling maul and slipping over for an easy score. For the second occasion, the conversion was missed and Connacht carried a 15-10 advantage into the second period.
The second half was a more pedestrian affair. Crucially, Connacht were next to score, with Carty's replacement David Horwitz punishing Cheetahs indiscipline with a three-pointer just before the hour mark.
Another penalty was added as the game ticked into the final 15 minutes and Andy Friend's team suddenly had a substantial advantage.
However, it was to be a nervy finish after Shaun Venter was set free with some lovely offloading play in his own half and the utility back scampered over for the hosts' third try.
Connacht had to withstand serious pressure in the closing minutes, with the hosts failing to convert from an attacking lineout ten metres from the line.
The game would end on the halfway line with James Mitchell booting the ball into touch to send the travelling support into raptures.
Two wins from two on the tour to South Africa as the Fields of Athenry rings out 🇿🇦 pic.twitter.com/wTljM8hvRV— Connacht Rugby (@connachtrugby) December 1, 2018