Two tries from Academy back row Paul Boyle helped Connacht to a bonus point victory over Zebre in the Sportsground. Boyle’s performance also earned him the Man of the Match award in what was only a second pro team start for the 21 year old number 8.

A third minute penalty got Connacht off to a good start and when Carty converted the first of Boyle’s tries in the ninth minute, the home side always looked in control.

On twenty minutes Boyle and Carty completed the trick again, with Boyle powering over after some good play from the pack and Carty duly adding the extras.

Zebre got off the mark on 25 minutes when Carlo Canna kicked a penalty, but with the score staying at 17 – 3 to Connacht up to half time, a second half comeback always seemed unlikely in a wet and windy Sportsground.

In the second half Connacht’s dominance continued when Zebre had two men in the sin bin and Caolin Blade capitalised by getting over for a try in the 49th minute. By the 60th minute, Connacht had secured the bonus point when Eoin Griffin got over in the corner after a clever grubber kick by Carty to find a gap in behind the Zebre defence.

Second half substitute Niyi Adeolokun put the icing on the cake when he touched down in the opposite corner to give Connacht a 32 points to 6 lead going into the final 10 minutes.

Zebre did manage a consolation try with a minute to go but it was immaterial at that stage as Andy Friend’s side finished comprehensive winners, recording their first PRO14 win of the season.


CONNACHT – Tiernan O’Halloran, Cian Kelleher (Niyi Adeolokun 64), Eoin Griffin, Kyle Godwin (Craig Ronaldson 70), Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade (Kieran Marmion 49), Denis Buckley (Conán O’Donnell ’61), Dave Heffernan (Shane Delahunt ’55), Finlay Bealham (Dominic Robertson-McCoy 59) Gavin Thornbury (Quinn Roux 63), Quinn Roux (James Cannon 61); Sean O’Brien (Colby Fainga’a 49), Jarrad Butler (captain), Paul Boyle.


ZEBRE – Edoardo Padovani;  Mattia Bellini, Giulio Bisegni, Nicolas De Battista (Tommaso Boni 59), Giovanbattista Venditti (Roberto Tenga 48), Carlo Canna (Francois Brummer 59), Marcello Violi (Guglielmo Palazzani 59); Andrea Lovotti (HIA – Daniele Rimpelli 6 to 16), Oliviero Fabiani (YC 47), Giosué Zilocchi (YC 45); David Sisi, George Biagi (Captain) (Apisai Tauyavuca 61); Matu Tevi (Jimmy Tuivaiti 40), Johan Meyer, Renato Giammarioli (Massimo Ceciliani 48).


REPORT: Sharks 41-21 Connacht