Connacht defeated visitors Treviso at the Sportsground in Galway on Friday night to keep their Magners League hopes alive. The victory sees Eric Elwood’s side move ahead of the Italians in the league table.
The home side laid the platform for this victory in the opening 50 minutes, when they crossed over for three tries to put the game out of the visitors reach. While Connacht had to withstand a late fightback, they had done enough at that stage to hold out and take maximum points.
Elwood’s men led 18-0 after just 25 minutes. Troy Nathan went over for the hosts after three minutes and Keatley converted fro the resultant kick. The latter added a penalty soon after and made it 10-0 to Connacht. Frank Murphy added a second try for Connact minutes later after some excellent work from the home side’s pack set up the opportunity for the scrum half.
Keatley missed the conversion but made amends after Treviso were penalised in the ruck and increased the lead to 18-0. Michele Sepe then narrowed the gap when he touched down for a Treviso try, which Willem De Wall converted. Within ten minutes, Treviso were back in the game, when Vasawai crossed the line to make it 18-12 to Connacht.
That score seemed to reignite the hosts and they stepped up a gear soon after, with Keatley adding two penalties and Brian Tuohy touching down for the sides third try soon after the restart. The home side should have killed the game off from here and secured a vital bonus point ut instead their play became scrappy and they gave away a number of penalties, allowing Treviso back into the game. De Waal hit a penalty from half way and added another 10 minutes later. Johnny O’Connor was sin binned and Connacht found themselves hanging on for the final minutes of the match. Treviso tried hard and eventually received a penalty try but it was not enough and the hosts just about had enough left in the tank to hang on and claim the victory.
Connacht: G Duffy; B Tuohy, N Ta’auso, T Nathan, F Carr; I Keatley, F Murphy; B Wilkinson, S Cronin, J Hagain; M Swift, M McCarthy; A Browne, J O’Connor (capt), R Ofisa. Replacements : R Loughney for Wilkinson, Rodney Ah You for Hagan (both 63 mins).
Treviso: B Williams; M Sepe, E Galon, A Pratichetti, J Maddock; W De Waal, L Nitoglia; I Fernandez Rouyet, F Sbaraglini, L Cittadini; A Pavanello (capt), C Van Zyl; B Vermaak, M Vosawai, M Filippucci.Replacements : P De Santo for Cittadini, G Padro for Pavanello, M Rizzo for Rouyet, P Derbyshire for Vosawai (all 48 mins), E Pavanello for Fillippucci, G Garcia for Pratichetti (both 61 mins).
Referee: G Knox (SRU).