Jack Carty becomes Connacht's all-time record pointscorer in defeat of Treviso

Jack Carty becomes Connacht's all-time record pointscorer in defeat of Treviso

Jack Carty showed his class off the bench with a key 10-point contribution and a try assist as Connacht ended Benetton Treviso's eight-match Guinness PRO14 unbeaten run with a 29-14 victory at the Sportsground.

Two opportunist tries from Caolin Blade and Matt Healy gave the Irish side a 14-7 lead at half-time after the Italians had enjoyed purple patches at either end of the first half before opening their account late on thanks to replacement Antonio Rizzi's third try in as many games.

Dewaldt Duvenage's 55th-minute score drew the Italians level, only for replacement Carty - who won his first three Ireland caps during the recent Six Nations - to seize the momentum with a brilliant 24-minute cameo.

Carty, who became Connacht's leading points scorer of all-time on the night, initially landed a difficult 63rd-minute penalty prior to two involvements in the build-up to Healy's second try, and then finishing off a breakaway last-minute bonus-point try.

A large chunk of the opening 10 minutes was eaten up by scrums, which eventually gave way to some breathless attacking phases with Benetton eager to make a physical imprint on the game.

However, it was Connacht who hit the front when an attack off a lineout swung back into midfield, with scrum-half Blade taking advantage of a missing pillar, breaking from a ruck and stepping inside last man Ian McKinley to go in under the posts. Kyle Godwin converted.

Despite the best efforts of Toa Halafihi at the breakdown, the Treviso side conceded a second try after Connacht wore them down through 27 phases.

Ultan Dillane and Finlay made crucial incisions, and although O'Halloran lost the ball close to the line, James Cannon's immediate tackle on Duvenage forced possession loose over the line, allowing winger Healy to swoop and touch down.

After Godwin was again successful with a difficult conversion from the right, the Italian pack was able to exert some pressure approaching the interval.

They were rewarded when Halahifi broke from a five-metre scrum, linking with Rizzi, who grounded under pressure from Darragh Leader, and then converted to halve the deficit.

After soaking up Connacht pressure early in the second half, Duvenage brought the visitors level, raiding in behind the posts after a poor kick from Godwin led to a tired chase.

Connacht were duly punished as Robert Barbieri charged into space, combining with Halahifi and Rizzi to release Duvenage .

Rizzi's levelling conversion was soon cancelled out by a crisply-struck Carty penalty from just inside the Benetton half before Andy Friend's men showed the greater accuracy and energy down the final stretch.

After Healy slid over in the corner with 12 minutes remaining, a clever chip and collect from Carty launched a frenetic 79th-minute attack.

Fellow replacement Kieran Marmion was brought to ground but the move swept across to the right where Benetton were caught for numbers, allowing Marmion to feed Carty to dive over and convert.

The bonus point keeps Connacht in third place in Conference A on scoring difference, just ahead of Cardiff Blues who visit Galway in mid-April.

PA

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