Connacht spirit gives coach Elwood 'plenty to build on'
Published 01/11/2010 | 05:00
ERIC ELWOOD was disappointed to see his men fall to defeat in Italy, but pleased with the attitude which enabled them to fight back to force a bonus point.
But the effort was not without its cost, with centre Niva Ta'auso and flanker Ray Ofisa suffering facial and head injuries.
Connacht looked like they would come away with nothing when they trailed 21-10 early in the second half, but they battled back and came close to winning. Treviso have now won four of their five home games in their maiden season in the Magners League.
"It didn't look good for us when we fell 11 points behind, but the lads kept battling away and got their reward," said Elwood.
"We got the bonus point and then went to win the match in the closing minutes. Last week we put in a huge effort against Leinster and coughed up the bonus point with the last play, so at least we got something, although we are disappointed to lose.
"Treviso are a strong side with a lot of Italian internationals. Teams will get nothing easy there.
"We created chances to win the game in the end and, on another day, would have secured it. There is plenty there for us to build on."
Connacht's recovery was laudable, but they were unable to prevent a third loss on the trot.
Having failed to score a try in their three previous Magners games, the visitors got a perfect start when hooker Adrian Flavin crashed over after less than three minutes following a line-out tap-down from Mike McCarthy, and Ian Keatley added the points.
Two penalties from South African scrum-half Tobie Botes reduced the deficit to 7-6 after 15 minutes before No 8 Robert Barbieri set up his out-half Chris Burton for a try, which was converted by Botes to make it 13-7 after 24 minutes.
Botes and Keatley swapped penalties to make it 16-10 at the break, but three minutes later, Barbieri again made the opening and Ludovico Nitoglia touched down.
But Connacht kept battling away and they were rewarded just after the hour mark when a moment of genius from Fionn Carr sent Frank Murphy through and sent a looping pass for Niva Ta'auso to go over.
Keatley converted to make it 21-17 with 16 minutes remaining, but while Connacht piled on the pressure in the closing stages, Treviso made the game safe when Botes kicked his fourth penalty in the dying moments.
Benetton Treviso -- B Williams; L Nitoglia, T Benvenuti, G Garcia (A Sgarbi), J Maddock; C Burton, T Botes; I Fernandez Rouyet (L Cittadini 50), L Ghiraldini (F Sbaraglini 50), P Di Santo (M Muccignat 50 (Fernandez Rouyet 75)); A Pavanello, C Van Zyl; B Vermaak (S Picone 61), A Zanni, R Barbieri.
Connacht -- G Duffy; D Fanning (T Nathan 45), N Ta'auso (D Murphy 68), K Matthews, F Carr; I Keatley (M Nikora 65), C Willis (F Murphy 57); B Wilkinson (R Loughney 64), A Flavin, J Hagan (B Fa'amausili 46); M Swift, M McCarthy; J O'Connor, R Ofisa (E Taylor 28, B Upton 52), J Muldoon.
Ref -- T Hayes (Wales).