Saturday 10 December 2016

Connacht on rampage to go joint top of table

Connacht 34-15 Zebre

John Fallon

Published 17/10/2015 | 02:30

Nepia Fox-Matamua of Connacht is tackled by Tommaso Boni
Nepia Fox-Matamua of Connacht is tackled by Tommaso Boni
Connacht's Eoin McKeon is tackled by Jacopo Sarto
Connacht's John Cooney is tackled by Emiliano Coria
Craig Ronaldson scores Connacht's fourth try

Connacht encountered little resistance in chalking up another bonus point win as they brushed Zebre aside at the Sportsground last night to go joint top of the Pro12 table.

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They did all the hard work in the opening half and had the bonus point wrapped up by the interval.

They would have surpassed last season's record 40-point win over the Italians had they pushed on from their 29-10 interval lead.

But the game became very disjointed after the restart as it spun towards an inevitable conclusion.

Connacht wasted little time in getting on top. Craig Ronaldson, a late replacement for the injured Jack Carty at out-half, landed an early penalty.

Then Matt Healy broke for the opening try before turning provider as Kieran Marmion scored for the second game in a row.

Eoin McKeon got over after a good maul off a lineout and the bonus point was wrapped up with the best try of the night when Ronaldson jinked his way over.

Zebre, who pulled back a try from New Zealander Dion Berryman, doubled their try haul for the season in the closing minutes when South African signing Johan Meyer got over.

But by then Connacht had the issued well wrapped up with Denis Buckley getting their fifth try after 49 minutes before they took their foot off the pedal.

Connacht - T O'Halloran; D Poolman (D Leader 56), R Parata, B Aki, M Healy; C Ronaldson (C McKeon 72), K Marmion (J Cooney 49); D Buckley (C O'Donnell 60), T McCartney (S Delahunt 53), R Ah You (F Bealham 60); Q Roux, A Browne (A Muldowney 40); J Muldoon, N Fox-Matamua, E McKeon (E Masterson 70).

Zebre - U Beyers; D Berryman (M Visentin 40), T Boni, M Pratuchetti, K van Zyl; E Padovani (C Canna 55), L Burgess (G Palazzani 60); A Lovotti (A de Marchi 72), A Manici (T D'Apice 60), P Ceccarelli (E Coria 56); V Bernabo (M Bortolami 64), G Biagi; J Meyer, J Sarto (E Caffini 46)), A van Schalkwyk.

Ref - B Whitehouse (WRU)

Irish Independent

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