Connacht maintain mighty gallop

Connacht continued their remarkable start to this season’s Guinness Pro12, grabbing a fifth win on the trot at the Galway Sportsground last evening. And following Leinster’s win over the Scarlets, Pat Lam’s side have now taken top spot.

Connacht maintain mighty gallop

Treviso, without a win this season, provided stiff opposition for 60 minutes, scoring three tries, but Connacht will feel well satisfied to have completed this opening block of league fixtures with six wins from seven, bagging four tries in the process last night.

Centre Craig Ronaldson posted the first of his 18-point haul with an early three-pointer, and added another in the 20th minute, but Treviso proved proficient with ball in hand. And with the forwards carrying well, led by lock Filo Paulo, they provided the backs with front-foot ball with full-back Jayden Hayward bagging the opening try after 26 minutes, but failing to convert.

Connacht were denied a try when John Cooney lost possession on the line, following a super break from returning Ireland international Robbie Henshaw, but from the ensuing scrum, Connacht won a hard-earned penalty, which Ronaldson stroked over after 36 minutes for a 9-5 lead at the break.

The home side were quick out of the blocks after the restart with Henshaw diving over in the right corner, and Ronaldson converting. However Treviso replied when replacement scrum-half and Italian international Edoardo Gori set up possession in the Connacht 22 for Hayward, who took a direct line to touch down. His conversion kept the Italians within touching distance.

A training ground move provided Connacht with the third try, but it cost replacement hooker Tom McCartney in the process. From a short line-out, John Muldoon quickly threw the ball back to McCartney, who charged up the line from the 22 to touch down, pulling a hamstring. Ronaldson once again judged his conversion perfectly.

With an eye on a long trek to Siberia next week for the opening European Challenge fixture with Krasnoyarsk, Lam used his bench accordingly, including a first start for USA’s World Cup outhalf AJ McGinty. Ronaldson added a penalty in the 71st minute before Matt Healy rounded off the scoring with the fourth try, while Treviso’s Gori bagged an 80th-minute consolation try.

CONNACHT: 

R Henshaw, T O’Halloran, B Aki, C Ronaldson, M Healy, J Carty, J Cooney, D Buckley, D Heffernan, N White, U Dillane, A Browne, J Muldoon (cpt), N Fox-Matamua, E McKeon.

Replacements:

F Bealham for N White (32), K Marmion for Cooney (37), T McCartney for Heffernan (50), D Heffernban for McCartney (53), A Muldowney for Dillane (55), E Masteron for Matamua (62), AJ McGinty for Carty (63), D Leader for O’Halloran (73), C O’Donnell for Buckley (73).

BENETTON TREVISO:

J Hayward, A Pratichetti, T Iannone, E Bacchin, S Ragusi, L McLean, A Lucchese, M Zanusso, L Bigi, S Ferrari, T Paulo, J Montauriol, M Barbini, A Zanni (cpt), A Steyn.

Replacements:

E Gori for Lucchese (37), F Filippetto for Ferrari (HT), D Budd for Zanni (43), D Giazzon for Bigi (46), M Lazzaroni for Barbini (60), M Muccignat for Zanussi (64), S Christie for Bacchin (68), A De Marchi for Paulo (78).

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