Elwood fumes as Connacht 'play second fiddle' to Aironi
Aironi 25 Connacht 13
Connacht fell to a third defeat in Italy this season, becoming the first ever side to lose to Aironi in the Magners League when they were outscored by three tries to one at Stadio Zaffanella on Saturday evening.
It left coach Eric Elwood furious as his side, who had won four of their last five Magners games, produced their worst display for a long time.
Connacht never rose to the challenge in a performance on a par with the one that saw them lose to Cavalieri Prato in the Amlin Challenge Cup earlier this season.
"We weren't at the races," said Elwood. "We did not show the same urgency in attack or desperation in defence and in the end didn't deserve it. We played second fiddle to them in most areas."
Sloppy defending presented Aironi with two tries in the opening half, gratefully accepted by Kiwi native Kaine Robertson and South African Gareth Krause.
Ian Keatley put Ray Ofisa over for a try after 33 minutes to leave it 14-10 at the interval.
But it was Aironi who stepped up a gear in a stop-start second half, with Sean Cronin being followed to the sin bin by two Aironi players.
The Italians stretched their lead with a penalty from Tito Tebaldi and a James Marshall drop-goal before Danwel Demas sealed the issue with their third try after Keatley had got another penalty.
Aironi -- G Rubini; K Robertson, M Pratichetti, G Pizarro (H San Martin, 77), D Demas; J Marshall, T Tebaldi (P Canavosio 73); Alberto de Marchi (Andrea de Marcho 77), R Santamaria (F Ongaro 56), F Staibano (R Redolfini 60); J Furno, M Bortolami; J Sole, G Krause (N Cattina 72), N Williams.
Connacht -- G Duffy; B Tuohy, N Ta'auso (K Matthews 63), T Nathan, F Carr; I Keatley, F Murphy (C Willis 73); B Wilkinson (R Loughney 67), S Cronin, J Hagan (R Ah You 60); M Swift, M McCarthy; A Browne (B Upton 60), J O'Connor (J Muldoon 71), R Ofisa.
Ref -- N Hennesy (WRU).