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Connacht secure bonus point win against fellow Pro12 strugglers Zebre

A dominant display from the pack laid the foundations for a morale-boosting success.

London Irish-bound Eoin Griffin celebrates his try with Dan Parks.
London Irish-bound Eoin Griffin celebrates his try with Dan Parks.
Image: ©INPHO/Francesca Soli

Zebre 19

Connacht 27

Pat Lam’s Connacht fought hard to secure a bonus point victory over Zebre that sees them move up to 10th in the Pro12 table with seven games remaining this season. The western province’s head coach will now plan on building on this second consecutive win as he looks to restore pride after a disappointing campaign so far.

A Dan Park penalty opened the scoring for Connacht in the third minute, before tighthead prop Rodney Ah You benefited from a powerful maul to score their first try. Parks missed the conversion from wide to the left.

Source: RaboDirect PRO12

The former Scotland out-half made no mistake with his next attempt though, adding the two points after Kieran Marmion scored what was quite possibly the easiest try of his burgeoning career.

The 22-year-old had the straightforward task of touching down after Connacht’s scrum had obliterated the Zebre resistance, walking their way over from five metres out to allow Marmion his chance.

That scrum dominance continued throughout the half and resulted in a penalty try for the visitors just before the break, when Welsh referee Ian Davies pinged the Italians’ second row for ‘crumbling’ in the face of the onslaught.

Source: RaboDirect PRO12

Connacht wrapped up the bonus point in the 56th minute when Eoin Griffin scored after Zebre failed to deal with Parks’ up and under. The out-half re-gathered the ball after a weak contest in the air from the home side and passed to Griffin for the centre to cross in the left-hand corner.

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Thereafter, Connacht eased off and allowed Zebre to come storming back into the game with tries from Giovanbattista Venditti, Samuela Vunisa and Dries van Schalkwyk. Troy Nathan and Alberto Chillon added a conversion apiece to reduce the deficit.

Source: RaboDirect PRO12

However, this was an encouraging win for Connacht as they excelled in the opening 60 minutes, showing great strength up front against the heavy Zebre pack. Lam needs his men to deliver similar performances more regularly as the season moves into the final months.

Zebre scorers:

Tries: Giovanbattista Venditti, Samuela Vunisa and Dries van Schalkwyk

Conversions: Troy Nathan and Alberto Chillon

Connacht scorers:

Tries: Rodney Ah You, Kieran Marmion, Penalty Try, Eoin Griffin

Conversions: Dan Parks (2)

Penalty: Dan Parks

ZEBRE: R Trevisan (G Toniolatti); D Berryman, K Ratuvou, R Quartaroli G Bisegni), G Venditti; T Nathan (A Chillon), B Leonard; S Perugini (A de Marchi), T D’Apice (L Giovanchelli), D Chistolini (L Redolfini); R van Vuuren (F Cazzola), G Biagi; E Caffini (A Saccardo), D van Schalkwyk, S Vunisa.

CONNACHT: Darragh Leader; Tiernan O’Halloran, Eoin Griffin (Danie Poolman), Dave McSharry, Fionn Carr; Dan Parks, Kieran Marmion (Miah Nikora); Denis Buckley (Finlay Bealham), Jason Harris-Wright (Dave Heffernan), Rodney Ah You (JP Cooney); Michael Swift (Aly Muldowney), Mick Kearney; Andrew Browne, Eoghan Masterson (George Naoupu), John Muldoon (capt.).

Replacement not used: Paul O’Donohoe.

Referee: Ian Davies (WRU)

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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