Connacht made it three Heineken Cup wins from five this season with a 20 – 3 victory over Italian outfit Zebre at the Sportsground this afternoon.

Head Coach Pat Lam and his team were disappointed with aspects of their game that saw them fail to capitalise on try-scoring opportunities and the chance of a five-point bonus point win.

A try in each half for Connacht, from Matt Healy and Robbie Henshaw respectively, as well as 10 points from the boot of outhalf Jack Carty ensured the win for the Irish province and keeps the side mathematically alive in the competition.

21-year-old Jack Carty got his first taste of Heineken Cup rugby today, starting in the number 10 shirt opposite the more experienced international Luciano Orquera. Both out halves sent penalty kicks wide of the posts in a scrappy opening ten minutes.

The Italian made no mistake with his second penalty attempt on 15 minutes and put three points on the board for his side.

Carty, himself, made up for his early miss with two successive penalties to push his side 6 – 3 in front before the half hour mark.

The first try of the game came when Man of the Match Healy touched down out wide, fending off two Zebre tacklers to stretch over the line. Carty delivered the difficult conversion kick from wide on the left to make it 13 – 3.

Half time: Connacht 13 – 3 Zebre

Connacht celebrated their second try just three minutes into the second half. A clever offload from replacement lock Michael Swift found centre Eoin Griffin who passed under his legs to find his partner Henshaw. The 20-year-old stepped his way over to the right of the posts for his first ever Heineken Cup try.

Carty added the extras again to put ten points between the sides.

Despite a number of opportunities, Zebre’s resolute defence prevented a further score.  Healy crossed the line on 66 minutes but the TMO ruled ‘no try’ following a knock on. The 24-year-old went close to grabbing a third try for his side when he intercepted possession deep in his own territory with five minutes remaining. He ran the length of the pitch but was held up by David Odiete just inches from the line.

Final Score: Connacht 20 – 3 Zebre

Man of the Match: Matt Healy

Attendance: 5, 217

CONNACHT:  D Leader, F Carr, R Henshaw, E Griffin, M Healy, J Carty, K Marmion, B Wilkinson, S Henry, N White, M Kearney, A Browne, J Muldoon, J Heenan, E
Replacements – M Swift for Kearney (18 mins), J Harris-Wright for Henry (46 mins), D Buckley for Wilkinson (59 mins), G Nauopu for McKeon (65 mins), D Parks for Carty (73 mins), G Duffy for Leader (73 mins), P O’Donoghue for Marmion (75 mins)

 

ZEBRE:  G Palazanni, G Toniolatti, K Ratuvou, G Garcia, D Berryman, L Orquera, A Chillon, M Aguero, D Giazzon, D Chistolini, Q Geldenhuys, G Biagi, F Ferrarini, D van Schalkwyk, S Vunisa.
Replacements – T D’Aspice for Giazzon (12 mins), R Trevisan for Palazzani (52 mins), N Cattina for Ferrarini (53 mins), A de Marchi for Chistolini (60 mins), D Ryan for Aguero (60 mins), R Quartaroli for Garcia (65 mins), D Odiete for Berryman (71 mins).

 

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