With 17 leading players missing due to either Scotland commitments or injury, Edinburgh were always going to be up against it here, especially against a Connacht team which is not as heavily lent on during these international windows.

But even taking that into account, this was a deeply disappointing experience for Richard Cockerill’s side against a team which had managed only one win in this competition during the last 11 months.

Edinburgh have now lost six games on the bounce, and, on this occasion, they were never really in the contest from the 14th minute onwards, after excellent Connacht scrum-half Coalin Blade zipped in for the first of his team’s five tries. A long, hard season stretches out in front of the men from the Scottish capital.

Connacht drew first blood on three minutes when Conor Fitzgerald sent home a penalty which had been awarded against Edinburgh second-row Andrew Davidson for not rolling away.

Edinburgh bounced back to take the lead when Nic Groom burrowed over from close range following some good driving play from Pierre Schoeman and WP Nel, but their scoreboard advantage was short lived because just four minutes later an excellent individualist score from Blade lit up the match.

The scrum-half reacted superbly when the ball unexpectedly squirted out of a line-out maul, exhibiting the wherewithal and pace to escape down a narrow gap on the short side, before sending a grubber past the last man which he gathered himself without breaking stride on his way to the line.

That was good and it got even better for the visitors when Fitzgerald took a leaf out of his half-back partner’s book to dissect Edinburgh’s defence with a wonderfully weighted grubber, but on this occasion it was angled towards the right-hand corner for winger Sam Arnold to swoop in for the score.

Jack Blain, who was making his second Edinburgh appearance and his first start, and who is more used to playing on the wing, showed up well with a number of probing runs from full-back during the opening half-hour, and he made some good yards in the move which earned the hosts an attacking line-out 10 yards from Connacht’s line just before the half-hour mark.

But it was to no avail, with two Edinburgh overthrows in quick succession culminating in the men from Galway scoring a third spectacular try inside the space of 15 minutes, thanks this time to some scorching pace from John Porch exposing an out-of-position Eroni Sau on the left touchline, before Alex Wootton finished off the sweeping 55-yard attack.

It looked like Edinburgh had grabbed a lifeline when a clever set-move from a line-out saw Sau scamper under the posts off an inside pass from James Johnstone, but the TMO was consulted and the replay made it clear that Chris Dean’s dummy-run had obstructed a Connacht tackler.

To compound Edinburgh’s misery, an absent-minded offside in the middle of the park at a line-out allowed Tom Dauly to kick another three points for the visitors.

Edinburgh were in danger of drifting from hapless into the realms of hopeless, with a succession of turnovers and penalties being conceded during the next 10 minutes, but as the first half entered overtime they finally managed to find some composure and they got their reward when Mike Willemse touched down from a line-out drive and Jaco van der Walt nailed the touchline conversion.

It was now a nine-point game, which must have been encouraging for the hosts given the general pattern of the game during that first period.

Willemse then repeated the trick with another try from a line-out drive after 10 minutes of the second half reduced it to a four-point game, but Connacht roared right back up field and opened up the gap again when Blade once again showed excellent awareness at the back of a maul to prod another grubber forward which Wootton latched on to for his second and the bonus-point securing fourth try for his team.

Connacht surged even further ahead just after the hour when hooker Shane Delahunt galloped through a yawning gap in Edinburgh’s day-dreaming defensive line, then finished off the move off with another powerful surge a few phases later.

Some consolation for Edinburgh arrived with eight minutes left when Davidson rumbled in under the posts to secure the four try bonus point for his team.

Scorers, Edinburgh: Tries: Groom, Willemse 2, Davidson. Cons Van der Walt 3.

Connacht: Tries: Blade, Arnold, Wootton 2, Delahunt. Con: Daly 3. Pen: Fitzgerald, Daly.

Edinburgh: J Blain; E Sau, J Johnstone, C Dean (G Taylor 65), J Farndale; J van der Walt, N Groom (H Pyrgos 66); P Schoeman (J Bhatti 72), M Willemse (D Cherry 74), W Nel (M McCallum 66), L Carmichael (J Hodgson 72), A Davidson, M Bradbury, A Miller (C Boyle 65), M Kunavula.

Connacht: J Porch; S Arnold ( T O’Halloran 22), T Farrell, T Daly, A Wootton; C Fitzgerald, C Blade (C Reilly 73); D Buckley (P McAllister 63), S Delahunt (J Murphy 69), J Aungier (P McAllister 63), E Masterson, G Thornbury (C Prendergast 73), P Boyle, J Butler (captain), A Papali’i (C Oliver 63).

Referee: A Jones (Wales).