Connacht come close in Italy

Benetton Treviso 24 Connacht 17

Benetton Treviso 24 Connacht 17

Benetton Treviso moved up two places to sixth in the Magners League table after a narrow win over Connacht which was inspired by some impressive kicking from Tobias Botes.

Botes racked up 14 of the Italian side's points as they condemned the Irish team to their fourth defeat of the season.

Treviso's home form has been the most impressive part of the team's season so far, with Franco Smith's side having only succumbed to Cardiff at home in what has otherwise been a disappointing campaign.

Connacht, who lost last week's all-Irish clash against Leinster, have been poor on their travels but took an early lead when Ray Ofisa offloaded to Adrian Flavin, who scored under the posts after a well-worked line-out in the fourth minute.

Ian Keatley converted to hand the visitors a 7-0 lead before Botes scored a penalty after Jamie Hagan was penalised at a scrum inside the Connacht half.

The South African added another three points with a quarter of an hour gone when the referee penalised Flavin for hands in the ruck.

Kristopher Burton missed a drop-goal attempt two minutes later as the Italians started to take a grip of the game.

Treviso scored their first try of the day after 24 minutes from Burton which Botes converted with ease.

Botes then put Treviso nine points ahead with a penalty kick after Connacht were caught offside on their own five-metre line.

Keatley's penalty brought Connacht within six points of the home side just before the break and the Irish outfit looked determined to re-capture the lead in the second period.

It was Treviso, however, who scored next with Ludovico Nitoglia breaking away to go over in the corner to extend the hosts' advantage to 11 points.

Tim Allnutt brought on Bernie Upton, Troy Nathan, Barry Fa'amausili and Frank Murphy as he looked to inspire a second-half comeback from the away side.

The move looked to have paid off when Fionn Carr beat three tackles to off load to Murphy who found Niva Ta'auso on the left wing to score under the posts.

Keatley's conversion closed the gap to four points and Connacht looked to push home for the try that would give them only their third win of the Magners League campaign.

Michael Swift and Mike McCarthy threatened for Connacht but a late penalty from Botes - his fourth of the game - sealed the win for Treviso while Connacht, who entertain Ospreys next up, gain a bonus point but drop one place to 10th.

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