Connacht edge past Treviso

Date published: October 10 2014

Craig Ronaldson kicked three penalties as Connacht picked up a hard-fought 9-6 win away at Treviso in the PRO12.

Craig Ronaldson kicked three penalties as Connacht picked up a hard-fought 9-6 win away at Treviso in the PRO12.

In a dire first half, a pair of three-pointers from Jayden Hayward and Ronaldson saw a tense opening period end with the teams level at 6-6.

If anything the second period was even worse than the opening 40 minutes, but the Irish province – and the visiting kicker – held their nerve to secure the victory.

Pat Lam’s men surprised many with their start to the campaign, winning their first three matches.

That included a shock 10-9 win over Leinster and, against a side which had lost all five games going into this encounter, they were expected to dispatch Treviso.

But it was the hosts who opened the brighter and an eighth minute Hayward penalty gave Benetton the lead.

That advantage didn’t last long as Connacht responded through the boot of Ronaldson before the centre added a second three-pointer on the half-hour mark.

Between two sides that aren’t renowned for their try-scoring prowess, it was tight and dominated by the boots of the respective kickers.

It was therefore no surprise to see the home team’s full-back line up another penalty attempt just before the break after an infringement by the Irish province.

Hayward duly converted the opportunity to level the scores at the interval. The second half continued with neither outfit being able to string together coherent or incisive passages of play.

Instead, the kickers took centre stage and Hayward had a chance to restore Benetton’s lead, but his effort missed the target.

Despite the dour affair, it didn’t lack passion and that was displayed by the yellow cards given to Sam Christie and Kieran Marmion for an off-the-ball scuffle.

Connacht coped much better when down to 14 men and Ronaldson’s third penalty snatched the win for Lam’s side.

The scorers:

For Treviso:
Pens: Hayward 2
Yellow Card: Christie

For Connacht:
Pens: Ronaldson 3
Yellow Card: Marmion

The teams:

Treviso: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Enrico Bacchin, 11 Michele Campagnaro, 10 Sam Christie, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Simone Favaro, 5 Corniel Van Zyl (c), 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Matteo Zanusso.
Replacements: 16 Amar Kudin, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Romulo Acosta, 19 Antonio Pavanello, 20 Tomas Vallejos Cinalli, 21 Francesco Minto, 22 Simone Ragusi, 23 Alberto Lucchese.

Connacht: 15 Darragh Leader, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Craig Ronaldson, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Eoin McKeon, 6 John Muldoon (c), 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Shane Delahunt, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Willie Faloon, 21 Ian Porter, 22 Dave McSharry, 23 Danie Poolman.

Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU, 28th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Marius Mitrea, Andrea Spadoni (both FIR)