Connacht made it five consecutive home wins with a seven-try win over Italian side Benetton Treviso in round 10 of the Guinness PRO12. 

Tom McCartney’s first-half double and scores from Danie Poolman – a late replacement for the injured Matt Healy – and Denis Buckley secured the try-bonus-point before half-time, and a commanding 28-3 lead for the hosts.

And John Cooney, Denis Buckley, and Jack Carty completed the scoring after the break, with the 66th minute try coming from Treviso. 

The visitors started well, probing for an early try on the Connacht five-metre line after Jake Heenan was stripped of the ball, but while the home side’s defence stood firm they were pinged and Ian McKinley made it 3-0 from the tee.

Connacht forced a turnover and then a penalty deep in Italian territory, with Marnitz Boshoff kicking to the corner the Guinness PRO12 champions decision to turn down a routine three points was justified when McCartney rumbled over on 12 minutes to give the hosts the lead – Cooney making no mistake with the conversion.

But while Cian Kelleher immediately saw yellow after accidentally taking out McKinley in the air, Pat Lam will have been thrilled to see his side absorb Treviso’s pressure for the duration of his time on the sidelines.

Buckley got in over the ball to win a vital turnover on 23 minutes, which led to Connacht’s second try of the afternoon.

Bundee Aki found Nepia Fox-Matamua, and the Kiwi-born flanker’s beautiful flicked pass was gratefully grasped by Poolman who ran in to score, with Cooney nailing the conversion again.

Things went from bad to worse for Treviso as Simone Ferrari saw yellow for persistent fouling at the breakdown, and just after the half-hour mark John Muldoon was just held up after crossing the whitewash.

But Connacht’s pressure told and they got their reward when McCartney doubled his tally for the afternoon in the right corner.

And the Galway outfit had their try-bonus point before the interval as Kelleher, Cooney and Aki put the ball through the hands for Buckley to score.

Cooney’s flawless kicking continued as he converted both to make it 28-3 at the interval, and while Treviso stabilised slightly after half-time, ten minutes into the second half Connacht were over again.

A brilliant training ground move off the back of a lineout just outside Treviso 22 saw Poolman come off his wing and offload for Cooney to score under the posts, and Roux added try number six from a five-metre scrum moments later.

Lam rang the changes for the hosts around the hour mark, and Treviso began to threaten when they won a penalty at scrum time, and after setting up a five-metre rolling maul knocked the ball on over the line on 65 minutes.

But just a minute later the Italians got their first try for their efforts, using their strength up front to drive Connacht back over the line and Steyn touched down at the back of the scrum.

McKinley’s conversion attempt was unlucky to hit the right post, and there was still time for Carty to go over for Connacht’s final try of the afternoon under the sticks.

Full time: Connacht 47 – 8 Treviso

Attendance: 5, 903

Man of the Match: Tom McCartney

Referee: Ian Davies [WRU].

CONNACHT: Tiernan O’Halloran (Jack Carty ’69); Cian Kelleher, Stacey Ili, Bundee Aki (Rory Parata ’60), Danie Poolman; Marnitz Boshoff, John Cooney (Caolin Blade ’50); Denis Buckley (JP Cooney ’60), Tom McCartney (Dave Heffernan ’54), Conor Carey (Dominic Robertson-McCoy ’60); Quinn Roux, James Cannon; Nepia Fox-Matamua, Jake Heenan (Sean O’Brien ’59), John Muldoon (Eoin McKeon ’62).

TREVISO: David Odiete; Angelo Esposito (Andrea Pratichetti ’39), Michael Tagicakibau (Tommaso Allan ’62), Alberto Sgarbi, Luca Sperandio; Ian McKinley, Tito Tebaldi (Edoardo Gori ’54); Alberto De Marchi (Federico Zani ’46) (Nicola Quaglio ’69), Davide Giazzon (Luca Bigi ’54), Simone Ferrari (Matteo Zanusso ’71); Marco Lazzaroni, Marco Fuser; Abraham Steyn, Roberto Santamaria (Matteo Zanusso ’30-40), Marco Barbini (Vittorio Flammini ’56).


Eoin De Buitléar signs first Professional contract with Connacht Rugby