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Aironi send Connacht packing

07th January 2012 17:36

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Luciano Orquera Aironi 2011

Luciano Orquera: On target with his goal-kicking

Aironi recorded only their third PRO12 win of the season when they beat Connacht 20-6 at the Stadio Zaffanella on Saturday.

The result means the Italian side edged closer to moving off the foot of the table.

The Galway side have won just once on the road since September 2010 and Aironi seemed to look forward to their visit as they were also the opponents on the occasion of the Italians' first win in the competition.

The first half was a scrappy affair with few try-scoring opportunities and perhaps that was to be expected when you consider that both sides are languishing in the bottom three and average only a shade more than one try per game.

However, when penalties were awarded within range, the home team had the edge and Argentina-born fly-half Luciano Orquera continued his imperious recent kicking form to give them a 9-0 half-time lead.

Chances for Connacht to get on the scoreboard were few and far between in the first period with Matthew Jarvis missing his only shot at goal and Tiernan O'Halloran knocking on and throwing an interception at two inopportune moments.

And their cause was not aided when prop Dylan Rogers was banished to the sin bin right on the stroke of half-time for the persistent infringements of his fellow forwards.

Into the second half and it did not take the Italians long to make their one-man advantage count.

Sloppy defending allowed Samoan international winger Sinoti Sinoti to squeeze through a couple of attempted tackles and touch down for the first try of the match.

Sadly, that score proved to be an isolated burst of excitement in a rather stop-start encounter and as the half wore on the game resembled a basement battle more and more.

The reliable Orquera kicked two further penalties, either side of one from Jarvis, to make the score 20-3 before Connacht were handed a chance to mount a comeback.

Aironi were reduced to fourteen men as prop Fabio Staibano was given a yellow card for throwing a punch. Despite spending the following ten minutes camped in the opposition twenty-two, the Irish province only came away with a penalty from the boot of Niall O'Connor and with that their hopes seemed to have gone.

Indeed, the hosts held out bravely to keep the score at 20-6 as Connacht joined Edinburgh and Treviso on the list of scalps taken at their home ground.

The scorers:

For Aironi:
Try: Sinoti
Pens: Orquera 5

For Connacht:
Pens: Jarvis, O'Connor

Yellow cards: Rogers (Connacht - 38th min), Staibano (Aironi - 57th min)

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

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

Venue: Stadio Zaffanella
Referee: Andrew McMenemy (SRU)

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