Planet Rugby

Zebre no match for Connacht

07th September 2013 21:29

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Fionn Carr Connacht 2010

On the board: Fionn Carr

Connacht got their RaboDirect Pro12 season off to a winning start with three tries in a 25-16 victory over Zebre.

The Irish province went into half-time with a 15-3 lead thanks to Nathan White and Matt Healy tries, while Dan Parks kicked a conversion and a penalty.

Although Luciano Orquera gave the visitors hope via three penalties, Fionn Carr's touchdown and further excellence from Parks eased the home team to victory. Luca Redolfini responded in the last minute for Zebre but they failed to secure the losing bonus-point.

This was a game between two of last season's strugglers. The Galway-based outfit are regarded as Ireland's developmental province but had more success in the previous campaign than their Italian opponents, who failed to win a game.

That didn't look like changing after the opening period of this encounter as the hosts took a 12-3 advantage.

White was the first to touch down after intercepting a stray pass and, although Orquera briefly reduced the arrears with a penalty, Healy scored the second try after collecting the ball on the left-wing.

Parks added the conversion and then kicked a penalty as Connacht took a deserved 15-3 advantage into the interval.

However, Connacht were put under pressure immediately in the second half and Zebre's stand-off was on-target again.

Orquera then scored his third from the tee with an hour of the match gone as the visitors gradually chipped away at the deficit. But Parks restored order with a three-pointer of his own before Carr raced over for his first try since re-joining the province, after Matteo Pratichetti had been sin-binned.

The Italian team did score a consolation through Redolfini, but it was the hosts that went away with the spoils.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Tries: White, Healy, Carr
Cons: Parks 3
Pen: Parks 2

For Zebre:
Tries: Manici
Con: Orquera
Pens: Orquera 3
Yellow Card: Pratichetti

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Fionn Carr, 13 Danie Poolman, 12 Eoin Griffin, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Michael Swift (c), 3 Nathan White, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Sean Henry, 17 Rodney Ah You, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Frank Murphy, 22 Craig Ronaldson, 23 Tiernan O'Halloran.

Zebre: 15 Dion Berryman,14 Giovanbattista Venditti, 13 Kameli Ratuvou, 12 Gonzalo Garcria, 11 Giulio Toniolatti, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Andries van Schalkwyk, 6 Mauro Bergamasco, 5 Marco Bortolami (c), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Andrea Manici, 17 Luca Redolfini, 18 Salvatore Perugini, 19 George Biagi, 20 Filippo Ferrarini, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 Tommaso Iannone, 23 Matteo Pratichetti.

Referee: Rhys Thomas (WRU)

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