On the back of 13 losses in-a-row, Connacht’s fixture in France is daunting, particularly with the French champions needing a win to top the table and qualify. It’s particularly frustrating for Connacht assistant coach Dan McFarland.
“The lack of consistency is the most disappointing aspect. Had we played like we did against Leinster, I have no doubt we would have beaten Aironi,” he said.
“We had plenty of opportunities, we were far too lateral in our play and did not play enough direct rugby.
“We are a close bunch and we care. We are used to hardship and I have no doubt that at some point we will come through this bad patch of results. We are playing good rugby and we believe in what we do, and until that happens we will keep plugging away.”
They’ll need to find discipline first though. Three soft penalties allowed out-half Luciano Orquera three kicks at goal. Nine points up at the break, Sinoti Sinoti broke through some poor tackling to grab the only try of the game at the start of the second half to kill off the game.
AIRONI: A Masi, G Toniolatti, R Quartaroli, G Pizarro, S Sinoti, L Orquera, T Keats; A de Marchi, R Santamaria, F Staibano, J Furno, M Bortolami, N Cattina, S Favaro, J Sole.
Replacements: Geldenhuys for J Furno (41), T d’Apice for Santamaria (46), T Tebaldi for Keats (61), N Olivier for Orquera (65), M Bergamasco for Favaro (70), Benettin for Quartaroli (75).
CONNACHT: G Duffy, F Vainikolo, K Tonetti, D McSharry, T O’Halloran, M Jarvis, F Murphy; B Wilkinson, A Flavin, D Rogers, M Swift, M McCarthy, M Kearney, J Muldoon (E McKeon 70), G Naoupu.
Replacements: E Reynecke for A Flavin (41), S Maguire for Kearney (43-50 blood), N O’Connor for Jarvis (50), R Ofisa for Kearney (55), H Fa’afili for McSharry (59), D Buckley for Wilkinson (59), S Maguire for D Rogers (68), E McKeon for Muldoon (70), P O’Donohoe for Murphy (70).
Referee: A McMenemy (Scotland).