Connacht secured a famous and rare win on Italian soil in their opening RadoDirect Pro 12 campaign defeating Treviso 11-9 in a tightly fought contest at the Stadio di Monigo this afternoon.
Rodney Ah You scored the only try of the game as both sides exchanged penalties in the energy sapping 32 degree Italian heat. The big Kiwi got over in the corner on 39 minutes, and that was the difference in the sides, as Treviso came agonisingly close to snatching victory right at the death.
The Connacht pack, in particular Michael Swift, Mike McCarthy and George Naoupu were outstanding throughout and the teams overall defence was excellent, something Eric Elwood and his back room team will be delighted with.
In a nervy opening, Treviso’s Willem de Waal kicked the opening penalty after only four minutes as Treviso put pressure on the away side. Connacht rallied and thought they had got over for the opening try through Eoin Griffin on 14 minutes, only for referee to call it back for a forward pass as the men in green looked to take control of the match.
De Waal missed another penalty for the home side as Connacht’s new signing Matt Jarvis kicked his opening penalty on 29 minutes. Jarvis should have added to his tally, but his effort from just inside Treviso’s half, tailed to the right and wide on 33 minutes. The opening try came after great play from Swift and
Naoupu set up Ah You. The big prop crashed over in the corner but Jarvis couldn’t add the conversion to leave it 8-3 at the break.
In the second period Treviso stepped up the pressure almost got over for a try on 49 minutes only for referee to once again call back for a forward pass. Connacht weathered the storm and Jarvis kicked his second penalty on 54 minutes, however the Welsh man missed one shortly after and this gave the home side some belief going into the last 20 minutes.
The pressure was relentless from the Italian side and two more penalties from De Waal left it 11-9 with only five minutes remaining. A last minute surge from Treviso was thwarted by an offside decision and that seemed to be enough for victory.
However disaster struck inside the Connacht half as they gave away another penalty. De Waal decided to kick for the line but Connacht defended superbly from the line-out to hang on for a memorable win.
Willem de Waal (3 penalties)
Matt Jarvis (2 penalties)
Rodney Ah You (1try)