Connacht go top of the PRO12

Date published: November 6 2015

Connacht moved to the top of the PRO12 standings on Friday thanks to a 33-19 win over Treviso at the Galway  Sportsground.

A sublime Craig Ronaldson performance saw Connacht overpower a plucky Treviso side.

With Connacht sat one point from the top of the table and Treviso rooted to the bottom, many expected an easy win for the Irish outfit. 

In a tightly contested first half, three penalties from Connacht centre Ronaldson and a try from Treviso full-back Jayden Hayward gave Pat Lam's side a 9-5 lead. 

A much better second half saw three tries for Connacht through Robbie Henshaw, Tom McCartney and Matt Healy. 

Ronaldson had a great night with the boot that saw him slot the three touchline conversions and a penalty. 

Treviso grabbed two tries through Hayward and Eduardo Gori. 

In a quiet first 20 minutes, two penalties from Connacht inside centre Ronaldson gave the home team a six-point lead. 

This was followed by a sustained period of Treviso pressure at the scrum and breakdown, which resulted in the first try of the game. A powerful run from winger Andrea Pratichetti left space open for Hayward who went over to open the scoring for the Italian side. 

Connacht almost responded with a try of their own, but a brilliant tackle saw John Cooney knock the ball on over the line. 

After cynical Treviso play at the scrum, Ronaldson added a further three points to the scoreboard before half time. 

The home side started the second half far more urgently. Henshaw, on his first game back from international duty, went over in the corner after a neat move from the Connacht back-line. 

However, Treviso refused to buckle. A sweeping counter attack cut the Connacht back line to ribbons and Hayward went under the posts for his second try of the game. 

Connacht grabbed their second try through replacement hooker McCartney, who went over after a smart line out move from the home side. However, McCartney injured himself in the scoring of the try and had to be replaced. 

Following a Ronaldson penalty, Healy grabbed his sides third try after a break from Henshaw. 

Treviso grabbed a consolation try deep into overtime through Gori after Connacht pushed for the bonus point.

The win sees Pat Lam's men go top of the Pro 12 after their Irish counterparts Leinster beat the Scarlets 19-15.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Tries: Henshaw, McCartney, Healy
Cons: Ronaldson 3
Pens: Ronaldson 4

For Treviso:
Tries: Hayward 2, Gori
Cons: Hayward 2

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Tiernan O’Halloran, 13 Bundee Aki, 12 Craig Ronaldson, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 John Cooney, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Nepia Fox-Matamua, 6 John Muldoon (c), 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Nathan White, 2 Dave Heffernan, 1 Denis Buckley
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Finlay Bealham, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Eoghan Masterson, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 AJ MacGinty, 23 Darragh Leader

Treviso: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Andrea Pratichetti, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Enrico Bacchin, 11 Simone Ragusi, 10 Luke McLean, 9 Alberto Lucchese, 8 Abraham Steyn, 7 Alessandro Zanni (c), 6 Marco Barbini , 5 Jeff Montauriol, 4 Teofilo Paulo, 3 Rupert Harden 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Matteo Zanusso.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Matteo Muccignat, 18 Simone Ferrari, 19 Dean Budd, 20 Marco Lazzaroni, 21 Andrea De Marchi, 22 Edoardo Gori, 23 Sam Christie.

Venue: Sportsground
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant referees: Kieran Barry (Ireland), Ken Imbush (Ireland)
TMO: Gordon Black (Ireland)