Benetton Treviso made it just one defeat in their last nine games at the Stadio Monigo in all competitions with a 23-3 victory over Connacht last night.

Flanker Alessandro Zanni and replacement scrumhalf Luca Morisi crossed for second-half tries for Benetton to seal a second win of the season for the Italian side. Connacht’s three points on the scoreboard came from Dan Parks’ penalty after the interval.

Connacht suffered an early blow when centre Eoin Griffin sustained a calf injury in the warm up. Brian Murphy stepped right into the number 12 jersey.

More names were added to the lengthy injury list with prop Ronan Loughney forced off after 27 minutes and his replacement Nathan White following him off the field five minutes later. Brett Wilkinson was brought on and moved Rodney Ah You to the Tighthead position.

Despite the early disruptions, Connacht came out of the blocks strongly with a brilliant chip and break from full back Gavin Duffy who brought play down into the Treviso 22 within the first minute.  The lineout was won by the towering Craig Clarke but Connacht failed to grab the points.

On his first start of the season, scrum-half Paul O’Donohoe found himself on the wrong side of the ref and sin-binned on just seven minutes for hands in the ruck. Italian international out half Alberto Di Bernardo slotted over the resulting penalty to open the scoring.

Shortly afterwards Parks had the opportunity to level up the scores but his penalty was wayward, flying wide of the right-hand upright.

Di Bernardo added two more three-pointers before the break to bring his side 9 – 0 up.

From the restart, Connacht were on the attack with winger Fionn Carr beating three defenders to break deep into Treviso territory. The visitors were awarded a penalty and from a difficult angle, Parks kicked it clear to get his side on the score board.

But almost immediately, the Italians struck back with the first try of the evening. Italian flanker Zanni crossed for the five points with replacement Tobias Botes adding the extras to increase the lead to 16 – 3.

Changes were made to the Connacht side with Head Coach Pat Lam bringing on young out half Jack Carty for Parks just before the hour mark.

With just over ten minutes left to play and Treviso down to 14 men with the sin binning of Robert Barbieri, Connacht looked to have a chance to find a way back into the game.

But the Italians’ defence kept Connacht out and they came back strongly to finish the game with another converted try through Morisi who crossed with less than two minutes remaining.

Botes added the extras to finish the game at Stadio Monigo 23 – 3

Treviso:B Williams; L Nitoglia, M Campagnaro, A Sgarbi, C Loamanu; A Di Bernardo, E Gori; M Rizzo, E Ceccato, A De Marchi; A Pavanello (capt), M Fuser; S Favaro, A Zanni, R Barbieri.

Replacements: I Fernandez Rouyet for Di Marco (27 mins), D Budd for Zanni (37-40mins), D Budd for Fuser (44 mins), T Botes for Gori (44 mins), L McLean for Di Bernardo (50 mins), Di Santo for Fernandez Rouyet (68 mins), V Bernabo for Favaro (69 mins), L Morisi for Campagnaro (77 mins)

Connacht: G Duffy; T O’Halloran, D Poolman, B Murphy, F Carr; D Parks, P O’Donohoe; R Ah You, S Henry, R Loughney; A Muldowney, C Clarke (capt); A Browne, J Heenan, G Naoupu.

Replacements: N White for Loughney (27 mins), B Wilkinson for White (32 mins), K Marmion for O’Donohoe (53 mins), J Carty for Parks (53 mins), J Rael for Henry (58 mins), J Muldoon for Heenan (58 mins), M Fifita for Naoupu (66 mins)

Referee: N Hennessy (WRU)


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