Connacht collect bonus as they extend winning run
Pat Lam’s side gain revenge for last year’s defeat to Benetton Treviso
Connacht’s Nepia Fox-Matamua offloads to Finlay Bealham during the Guinness Pro 12 game at Stadio Monigo. Photograph: Alfio Guarise/Inpho
Benetton Treviso 19 Connacht Rugby 34
Connacht’s late charge in the Guinness Pro 12 gained more momentum with a bonus-point victory over Benetton Treviso at Stadio Monigo on Sunday.
Avenging last season’s loss at the venue, the Pro 12 champions had the bonus point wrapped up by the 60th minute when fullback Tiernan O’Halloran celebrated his 26th birthday with the fourth try to extend their winning run to three and close the gap on seventh-placed Cardiff to three points.
“Really happy with the outcome,” said coach Pat Lam, “but performance is the key. We did some outstanding moments, but to give away three soft tries was disappointing.
“Jimmy Duffy [forwards coach] put some extra work in this week with the pack, and it certainly paid off. We scored some really good tries, and to get that five points was good, particularly after blowing it last week – good maturity from some of the young guys, and it will give us confidence heading into a short week before Zebre.”
Although Treviso’s left wing Andrea Buondonno replied before the break, Connacht sealed victory with two tries by the 60th minute – Ronaldson pouncing on Jack Carty’s deft grubber and converting before O’Halloran completed the scoring, with Carty adding the extras.
CONNACHT: T O’Halloran; N Adeolokun, B Aki, C Ronaldson, D Poolman; J Carty, C Blade; D Buckley, S Delahunt, F Bealham; U Dillane, J Cannon; S O’Brien, N Fox-Matamua, J Muldoon.
Replacements: T Farrell for Ronaldson (54 mins), Q Roux for Dillane (58 mins), JP Cooney for Buckley, J Andress for Bealham, B Dawaii for Muldoon and S Ili for Aki (all 62 mins), D Heffernan for Fox-Matamua (67 mins).
BENETTON TREVISO: L Sperandio; M Tagicakibau, T Iannone, A Sgarbi, A Buondonno; I McKinley, T Tebaldi; F Zani, L Bigi, T Pasquali; T Paulo, D Budd; M Lazzaroni, F Minto, R Barbieri.
Replacements: D Odiete for M Tagicakibau and L Nostran for Paulo (48 mins), R Santamaria for Bigi (61 mins), F Ferrarini for Barbieri (63 mins), A Pratichetti for Minto (68 mins), E Francescato for Tebaldi and M Irving for Pasquali (72 mins).
Referee: Ian Davis