Injuries mar Connacht rout
Zebre 34-51 Connacht
Published 21/02/2016 | 02:30
Matt Healy did his Ireland aspirations no harm at all with a hat-trick, but Pat Lam's side were left counting the cost of victory in Parma as his injury-battered side took a bonus-point win to go top of the table.
Healy and Kieran Marmion crossed in the first half before Healy ran in another two in the first eight minutes after the break, but a horror leg injury for Eoghan Masterson and further injuries to Jake Heenan and Craig Ronaldson spoiled their tenth Pro12 win of the season. Niyi Adeolokun racked up two second-half tries, but the concession of four tries will annoy Lam.
Ronaldson got Connacht on the board from a fourth-minute penalty but Zebre responded and Kelly Haimona levelled matters from the tee. A blistering spell midway through the first half gave Connacht a couple of significant scores. Firstly Tiernan O'Halloran sent Healy down the wing for his third try in four games, before the quick-thinking Marmion dived over after a tap penalty. Both tries were converted by Ronaldson for a 17-6 interval lead.
A minute from half-time a misfiring lineout cost Connacht as Johan Mayer crossed from close range. Ronaldson hit the post with a penalty straight from the restart, and in the following attack, Healy ran in his second. Again Zebre's response was rapid and Haimona dived over to make it 24-15. Healy completed his hat-trick in the 48th minute, before Adeolokun twice finished well as the game ended in a flurry of tries.
Scorers - Zebre: K Haimona try, 2 pens, 4 cons; J Meyer, A Van Schalkwyk, F Ruzza tries. Connacht: M Healy 3 tries, N Adeolokun 2 tries, K Marmion try; C Ronaldson pen, 3 cons; AJ MacGinty 3 cons, 2 pens.
Zebre: M Muliaina (U Beyers 51); G Toniolatti, G Bisegni (T Boni 57), M Pratichetti, K Van Zyl; K Haimona, L Burgess (M Panunzi 68); B Postiglioni (A De Marchi 57), O Fabiani (E Coria 75), D Chistolini (P Ceccarelli 56); G Koegelenberg, M Bortolami; E Caffini, J Meyer (F Ruzza 56), D Van Schalkwyk (F Cristiano 66).
Connacht: T O'Halloran (D Poolman 67); N Adeolokun, B Aki, C Ronaldson (P Robb 50), M Healy; AJ MacGinty, K Marmion (C Blade 60); D Buckley (R Loughney 60), T McCartney, F Bealham (R Ah You 60); B Marshall (D Heffernan 61), A Muldowney; J Muldoon, J Heenan (E Masterson 26, G Naoupu 46), E McKeon.
Referee: G Conway (IRFU)
Sunday Indo Sport