Four-try victory for Connacht

23rd Feb 2014, 18:49

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Scored: Kieran Marmion

Scored: Kieran Marmion

Connacht opened up an eight-point gap at the bottom of the PRO12 standings after beating basement side Zebre 27-19 on Sunday.

Connacht opened up an eight-point gap at the foot of the PRO12 standings after beating basement side Zebre 27-19 at Stadio XXV Aprile on Sunday.

Rodney Ah You and Kieran Marmion scores, as well as a penalty try, saw the Irish province go into the break with a 22-0 advantage.

Eoin Griffin's second-half try sealed the five points for the visitors, although Giovanbattista Venditti, Samuela Vunisa and Dries van Schalkwyk touchdowns gave the Italian side some consolation.

Zebre have only won two games since their inception into the PRO12, but this encounter against a team directly above them is one they would have targeted.

However, their first half performance proved disastrous as Connacht dominated the opening 25 minutes.

Dan Parks' penalty three minutes into the match gave the visitors the lead before Ah You touched down soon after to extend that advantage.

Pat Lam's men continued to control proceedings and, following Salvatore Perugini's yellow card, Marmion went over.

Zebre nearly hit back through Andrea de Marchi, but the prop was ruled to be in touch and an excellent opening period for the Irish side ended when they were awarded a penalty try from a scrum.

It was more of the same after the interval as Connacht crossed the whitewash for the fourth time through Griffin.

Venditti then halted the slide for the hosts when he finished well in the corner before an excellently executed set-piece move saw the Italians go over for their second.

Van Schalkwyk had the last say for the home team when he touched down late on, but it only partially masked their disappointing first-half display.

The scorers:

For Zebre:
Tries: Venditti, Vunisa, Van Schalkwyk
Con: Nathan, Chillon

For Connacht:
Tries: Ah You, Marmion, Penalty, Griffin
Con: Parks 2
Pen: Parks

Zebre: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 Dion Berryman, 13 Kameli Ratuvou, 12 Roberto Quartaroli, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Troy Nathan, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Andries van Schalkwyk (capt), 6 Emiliano Caffini, 5 George Biagi, 4 Michael van Vuren, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Tommaso D'Apice, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Lorenzo Giovanchelli, 17 Andrea de Marchi 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Filippo Cazzola, 20 Alberto Saccardo, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 Giulio Bisegni, 23 Giulio Toniolatti.

Connacht: 15 Darragh Leader, 14 Tiernan O'Halloran, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 John Muldoon (capt), 7 Eoghan Masterson, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Mick Kearney, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Finlay Bealham, 18 JP Cooney, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Danie Poolman.

Referee: Ian Davies (Wal)
Assistant referees: Guiseppe Vivarini, Elia Rizzo (both Ita)
TMO: Alan Falzone (Ita)