Aironi v Connacht Live Commentary

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Updated: January 7, 2012

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Aironi 20-6 Connacht
Scorers

Aironi: Orquera 4min (pen), 11min (pen), 19min (pen), 47min (pen), 54min (pen), Sinoti 43min (try).
Connacht: Jarvis 50min (pen), O’Connor 67min (pen).

Commentary:
Full time The game ends at Stadio Zaffanella with the home team winning by an impressive margin, 20-6. The scoreline in the second half perhaps does not reflect the pattern of play but Connacht were made pay for their profligacy in the final third of the field.

80min+ Connacht give away a penalty and the referee blows the final whistle as the clock ticks into the red.
80min Aironi clear and win a lineout and they just need to hold on to the ball now to let the clock wind down. But they give the ball straight to Connacht for one last chance for the away side.
78min Numerous chances for Connacht to put the ball down but the Aironi defence seems to get in their way just in the nick of time, every time and the ball goes out for an Aironi line-out.
77min Connacht so close once again as O’Halloran crawls along the ground to try to score a try.
76min The referee is having some trouble with this scrum but it is eventually to his satisfaction and Aironi kick the ball clear. Line-out to Connacht just inside Aironi’s half. Connacht win a penalty from the line out and O’Connor goes to touch.
74min Agonisingly close for Connacht! The ball is worked across the line well and Michael Swift just has to drop to the ground to score a try but he’s held up by the Aironi defence and the big no. 4 drops the ball. Scrum to Aironi.
73min Connacht win a penalty from the scrum and O’Connor kicks it to touch for an away line-out.
72min O’Connor’s countering run brings Connacht into the home team’s half until Tiernan O’Halloran is dispossessed but an Aironi player knocks the ball on and Connacht have a scrum.
71min Brilliant attacking play by Aironi as Gabriel Pizzaro shows his flair with a pass behind his back to Sinoti. The ball is knocked on however and Connacht relieve the pressure from the scrum.
70min Connacht clear the immediate pressure but Aironi still have the ball and drive back into Connacht territory.
69min The home team look for an immediate response to Connacht’s recent pressure as they set up camp on the away sides’ 22 metre line.
67min Connacht’s pressure eventually results in a penalty to the away team which Niall O’Connor kicks between the posts. 20-6 to Aironi.
66min Aironi turn the ball over and Orquera’s big kick upfield is taken back in by Connacht who attack again.
64min Fetu’u Vainikolo looks to have put the ball over the line but the referee isn’t too sure so he goes to the TMO. Disappointingly there’s no try for Connacht and they get another chance from a scrum.
62min Connacht’s forwards drive forward in an attempt to put the ball over Aironi’s line but the Italian’s defence is just strong enough to hold them off and Connacht have a scrum in front of the posts.
60min Orquera’s clearance doesn’t go into touch very far and Connacht have another chance here.
59min Try scoring opportunity here for Connacht as they attack inside Aironi’s 22 metre line. The chance ends as Niall O’Connor’s attempted chip behind the line is dived on by an Aironi player.
58min Some good news for Connacht as Fabio Staibano is yellow carded for a punch in the face to Connacht’s Michael Swift. Can Elwood’s side take advantage of this opportunity?
56min A good passing move by Connacht ends with Tonetti knocking the ball on and giving away a scrum on the halfway line.
54min Aironi have a try scoring chance but Connacht peg them back and give away a penalty which Orquera easily converts for three points.
50min Matthew Jarvis puts the first points on the board for Connacht with a penalty. They have a lot still to do however.
47min Orquera makes no mistake from this penalty and kicks for three points in front of the post.
43min TRY to Aironi! Aironi score the first try of the game through Sinoti Sinoti as Orquera misses the conversion.

Half time

19min Orquera’s third penalty makes it 9-0 to the home team.
11min Orquera makes a it 6-0 with another penalty.
4min: Orquera scores a penalty. 3-0 to Aironi.
0min: See preview below

Team News:

Aironi:

Starting XV: (15-9)15 Andrea Masi; 14 Giulio Toniolatti, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Sinoti Sinoti; 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Tyson Keats; (1-8) 1 Alberto De Marchi, 2 Roberto Santamaria, 3 Fabio Staibano; 4 Joshua Furno, 5 Marco Bortolami (cap); 6 Nicola Cattina, 7 Simone Favaro, 8 Josh Sole.

Replacements: (16-23) 16 Tommaso D’Apice, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 Lorenzo Romano, 19 Quintin Geldenhuys, 20 Mauro Bergamasco, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Naas Olivier, 23 Alberto Benettin.

Connacht:

Starting XV: (15-9) 15 Gavin Duffy (C), 14 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 13 Kyle Tonetti, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Tiernan O’Halloran; 10 Mattew Jarvis, 9 Frank Murphy; (1-8) 1 Brett Wilkinson, 2 Adrian Flavin, 3 Dylan Rogers; 4 Michael Swift, 5 Mike McCarthy; 6 Mick Kearney, 7 John Muldoon, 8 George Naoupu.

Replacements: (16-23) 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Stewart Maguire, 19 Eoin McKeon, 20 Ray Ofisa, 21 Paul O’Donohoe, 22 Niall O’Connor, 23 Henry Fa’afili.

Connacht travel to Italy on Saturday to take on Aironi in a bottom of the table clash between the two RaboDirect Pro12 sides; kick-off at 4.35pm.

Aironi are currently bottom of the league with 10 points, seven points behind Connacht and with only two wins so far this season.

Those two wins came over Edinburgh and Treviso, and both games were at home; a fact that will buoy the Italian side on as Connacht arrive at the Stadio Zaffanella.

Despite Aironi’s position, their form is actually better than Connacht’s, as the Italian team have one win in their last three games while Connacht haven’t picked up a win since September; a 17-13 home win against the Dragons.

Aironi’s last win came in December over fellow Italian side Treviso at home with an emphatic 27-13 scoreline but Treviso got their revenge in the reverse fixture on the last day of 2011 when they beat Aironi 37-14.

If last year’s results are anything to go by, Aironi have the edge after they beat Connacht 25-13 at home, picking up their only ever win over an Irish side, with Connacht beating them in a narrow 11-6 game at the Sportsground in Galway earlier in the month.

Connacht’s away form is fairly poor to say the least and Eric Elwood’s side have picked up just one away win since 2010, which came earlier in the season in a tightly contested game in Italy against Treviso; the score finished at 11-9 to the away side.

This fixture is so tight that the bookies are having trouble calling the outcome, with both teams at 1.22 with Betfair.com; check out more of the odds on this match here.

Connacht’s most capped player Michael Swift returns to the second row while prop Dylan Rogers also returns to the first team line-up.

Scrum-half Frank Murphy joins centre Dave McSharry and winger Fetu’u Vainikolo in the other changes to the backline as Murphy gets the nod ahead of former Leinster player Paul O’Donoghue.

McSharry is back in the starting XV after a chin injury kept him out for a week while Vainikolo comes in on the wing in place of Brian Touhy who will miss most of the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on a broken leg, picked up in December’s defeat to Leinster.

Giulio Toniolatti comes back in on the right wing for Aironi after missing last week’s defeat to Treviso after his wife gave birth to his first child; Sinoti Sinoti switches back to the left wing to accomadate Toniolatti’s return.

Tyson Keats returns to scrum half alongside out-half Luciano Orquera while Andrea Masi is at full back, with Roberto Quartaroli and Gabriel Pizzaro in the centre.

Joshua Furno is the only change to Aironi’s forwards as he comes in at lock alongside captain Marco Bortolami.

Aironi:

Starting XV: (15-9)15 Andrea Masi; 14 Giulio Toniolatti, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Sinoti Sinoti; 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Tyson Keats; (1-8) 1 Alberto De Marchi, 2 Roberto Santamaria, 3 Fabio Staibano; 4 Joshua Furno, 5 Marco Bortolami (cap); 6 Nicola Cattina, 7 Simone Favaro, 8 Josh Sole.

Replacements: (16-23) 16 Tommaso D’Apice, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 Lorenzo Romano, 19 Quintin Geldenhuys, 20 Mauro Bergamasco, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Naas Olivier, 23 Alberto Benettin.

Connacht:

Starting XV: (15-9) 15 Gavin Duffy (C), 14 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 13 Kyle Tonetti, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Tiernan O’Halloran; 10 Mattew Jarvis, 9 Frank Murphy; (1-8) 1 Brett Wilkinson, 2 Adrian Flavin, 3 Dylan Rogers; 4 Michael Swift, 5 Mike McCarthy; 6 Mick Kearney, 7 John Muldoon, 8 George Naoupu.

Replacements: (16-23) 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Stewart Maguire, 19 Eoin McKeon, 20 Ray Ofisa, 21 Paul O’Donohoe, 22 Niall O’Connor, 23 Henry Fa’afili.

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