Connacht made it six from seven wins in the Guinness PRO12 tonight with a 33 – 19 victory over Benetton Treviso at the Sportsground.

Robbie Henshaw touched down on his return from Rugby World Cup action, while Tom McCartney and Matt Healy also crossed for impressive scores. Man of the Match Craig Ronaldson kicked 18 points from the tee.

Ronaldson slotted the first points of the game on three minutes as he converted a penalty from the ten-metre line, just in from the right.

The physical Treviso side began to boss possession and territory but failed to turn it into points as Connacht’s defence held firm.

And Connacht edged ahead as some pressure inside the visiting 22, originally stemming from Healy’s break and kick up the wing, ended with Ronaldson nailing his second penalty on 20 minutes.

But Treviso got themselves on the board seven minutes later as huge pressure eventually resulted in Hayward being released into space and crossing the whitewash, although he failed to add the extras.

Pat Lam’s troops won a penalty at the scrum shortly after and Ronaldson made it three-from-three from the tee before curling a fourth penalty narrowly wide on the stroke of half-time, leaving the score at 9-5 at half time.

Half time: Connacht 9 – 5 Treviso

Just two minutes after play resumed for the second half, Connacht extended the lead to 16-5 after Henshaw was at the end of a ball from Aki that bobbed along the ground. The international centre, who was at fullback today, saw the space ahead of him and fended off two men to reach over in the corner. Ronaldson nailed the tricky conversion.

With the game being played at a frantic pace, Treviso responded in kind following a quick break from their own 22.

After turning the ball over, the Italians raced away and despite Connacht’s scrambling defence, full-back Hayward had enough to dot down before converting his own try to narrow the deficit to 16-12.

However, McCartney gave the visitors a mountain to climb on 51 minutes as a brilliantly-worked line-out let the replacement hooker in for the try and Ronaldson’s conversion extended the lead to 11 points.

And with five minutes remaining, Healy grabbed a third try to delight the home crowd, as he demonstrated his considerable pace to break away from the ten-metre line.

Despite late pressure, Pat Lam’s men couldn’t force the bonus-point score and indeed it was Treviso who grabbed a late consolation try as they turned the ball over in their own 22 and raced the length of the pitch, Gori touching down for the score, which Hayward converted.

Full time: Connacht 33 – 19Treviso

CONNACHT: R Henshaw; T O’Halloran, B Aki, C Ronaldson, M Healy; J Carty, J Cooney; D Buckley, D Heffernan, N White; U Dillane, A Browne; J Muldoon (cpt), N Fox-Matamua, E McKeon.

Replacements: F Bealham for N White (32 mins), K Marmion for Cooney (37 mins), T McCartney for Heffernan (50 mins), D Heffernban for McCartney (53 mins), A Muldowney for Dillane (55 mins), E Masteron for Matamua (62 mins), AJ McGinty for Carty (63 mins), D Leader for O’Halloran (73 mins), C O’Donnell for Buckley (73 mins).

BENETTON TREVISO: J Hayward; A Pratichetti, T Iannone, E Bacchin, S Ragusi; L McLean, A Lucchese; M Zanusso, L Bigi, S Ferrari; T Paulo, J Montauriol; M Barbini, A Zanni (capt), A Steyn.

Replacements: E Gori for Lucchese (37 mins), F Filippetto for Ferrari (half-time), D Budd for Zanni (43 mins), D Giazzon for Bigi (46 mins), M Lazzaroni for Barbini (60 mins), M Muccignat for Zanussi (64 mins), S Christie for Bacchin (68 mins), A De Marchi for Paulo (78 mins).

Referee: I Davies (WRU).

Attendance: 3, 443

Man of the Match: Craig Ronaldson



Carty makes history as Connacht tame Lions