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Connacht fall to damaging defeat to Zebre for the second season in a row

To compound matters, Kieran Keane’s side couldn’t even manage a losing bonus point in Parma.

Connacht have now suffered back-to-back defeats in the Pro14.
Connacht have now suffered back-to-back defeats in the Pro14.
Image: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

Zebre 24

Connacht 10

CONNACHT, FOR THE second season in a row, fell to defeat against Zebre in Parma this afternoon.

And with Michael Bradley’s men finishing strongly Connacht didn’t even manage a bonus point as they succumbed to back-to-back Pro14 defeats, having lost in Cardiff last week.

Italian international Carlo Canna, one of seven to feature against the Springboks last week, edged Zebre in front at Stadio Lanfranchi with a penalty after 11 minutes after some early pressure.

Connacht, though, enjoyed most of the possession after that but couldn’t convert it into scores with Steve Crosbie missing two penalties, while one to the corner saw the visitors fail to break the gain line.

Zebre finished the half strongly with a superb break from South African Johan Meyer forcing Connacht to defend their line as the Italians laid siege but Tiernan O’Halloran did enough to convince TMO Leo Colgan that he held up the ball when winger Giovanbattista Venditti dived over.

But, with advantage being played, Canna doubled Zebre’s lead with Connacht flanker Eoghan Masterson binned in the process for committing the foul which left it 6-0 at the interval.

A comedy of errors in the Zebre defence saw Connacht hit the front four minutes after the restart when centre Tom Farrell pounced to hack the ball through and chase it from inside the 22 and score. Crosbie’s conversion made it 7-6.

Canna responded with a penalty before Jack Carty edged Connacht back in front.

But then 11 minutes from time the impressive Meyer chased a chip to score, with Canna’s conversion making it 16-10.

Matteo Minozzi with Tiernan O'Halloran Source: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

However, the Italian out-half then missed a penalty from just to the left on the 22 with seven minutes remaining.

But he made amends three minutes later when he dropped a goal to push Zebre nine points in front.

And they finished in style with winger Gio Venditti bursting through tackles to score and seal a deserved win.

Zebre scorers: Tries: Johan Meyer, Gio Venditti
Penalties: Carlo Canna [3 from 4]
Drop goal: Carlo Canna
Conversions: Carlo Canna [1 from 2]

Connacht scorers:

Try: Tom Farrell
Penalties: Jack Carty [1 from 1]
Conversions: Steve Crosbie [1 from 1]

ZEBRE: Matteo Minozzi; Mattia Bellini (Ciaran Gaffney ’78), Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Boni, Giovanbattista Venditti; Carlo Canna, Marcello Violi (Guglielmo Palazzani ’69); Andrea Lovotti, Oliviero Fabiani, Danio Chistolini (Eduardo Bello ’57); Leonard Krumov, George Biagi (David Sisi ’57); Maxime Mbanda (Jacopo Sarto ’78), Johan Meyer, Renato Giammarioli.

Replacements not used: Luhandrea Luus, Cruze Ah-Nau, Serafin Bordoli.

CONNACHT: Tiernan O’Halloran; Cian Kelleher, Peta Ahki, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy; Steve Crosbie (Jack Carty ’59), Kieran Marmion (James Mitchell ’59); Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt (Dave Heffernan ’72), Finlay Bealham (Conor Carey ’72); Ultan Dillane, James Cannon; Eoghan Masterson, James Connolly (Naulia Dawai ’54), John Muldoon.

Replacements not used: Peter McCabe, Ciaran Gallagher, Eoin Griffin.

Referee: George Clancy (IRFU).

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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