Pat Lam’s men started the game stronger with two tries scored inside 15 minutes through centre Rory Parata and wing Fionn Carr. Scrum half John Cooney, on kicking duties for this game, converted both from the tee.
But the hosts hit back with two quick fire scores of their own through centre Luca Morisi and fullback Hayward, who converted his own score to make it 12 – 14 before the half hour mark and it remained that way until the break.
Half time: Treviso 12 – 14 Connacht
The Italians, who needed this win to help secure their own Champions Cup position next season, came out firing in the second half and their dominant scrum asked questions of Connacht’s front row who were penalised by referee Peter Fitzgibbon. The referee eventually awarded the penalty try after 45 minutes, which Hayward converted with ease.
But five minutes later, Pat Lam’s men were on the front foot again when Ireland international Robbie Henshaw, sprung from the bench, and Jake Heenan combined to force a turnover in the hosts’ 22. O'Halloran's 40metre break brought play deep into Treviso territory and the well worked team move saw them sweep the ball across the field allowing Peter Robb to finish well in the right corner – his first try in a Connacht jersey. Cooney’s touchline conversion split the posts to put Connacht back in to a two-point lead with 53 minutes on the clock.
It was a scrappy second half and Connacht will rue the missed opportunities but Treviso defended stoically throughout and when they won another scrum penalty on 82 minutes, Hayward slotted it over to take the win.
Full time: Treviso 22 – 21 Connacht