Connacht have secured victory and five points from their first European Rugby Challenge Cup pool match of the season with a 31-14 victory over Enisei-STM in harsh conditions in Siberia.
In a testing first half at a snowy Central Stadium in Krasnoyarsk characterised by handling mistakes and struggles for possession in a temperature of below -20 degrees celsius, only two penalties from AJ MacGinty on his first Connacht start separated the sides at half time.
The fly-half kicked a third penalty shortly after the restart to extend the lead to nine, and the first try of the match arrived minutes later when, after another MacGinty kick had struck the post, the Irish side turned over possession from an Enisei five-metre scrum and Niyi Adeolokun went over in the corner.
As Connacht finally began to wear down their stubborn opposition they found a second try just two minutes later, as captain John Muldoon found the corner after a swift break from man of the match Bundee Aki to give the visitors breathing space.
Shortly after the hour mark Darragh Leader added a third after yet more good work from Aki and a powerful carry from replacement Sean O'Brien, but the first Russian side to qualify for the Challenge Cup responded seven minutes from time when replacement prop Andrei Polivalov powered over.
Connacht came forward again in search of a bonus point, however, and they secured it when MacGinty's cross-field kick found Rory Parata on the right to score, and though Polivalov added a second for the home side in the final minute, the visitors took a winning start and five points back to Ireland.