Unlucky Connacht lose eighth in a row
Connacht 13, Treviso 15
CONNACHT dominated proceedings at the Sportsground last night but could not carve out a win and fell to their eighth successive defeat.
In the end it was the Italians who were celebrating a third successive away win in the Pro12 as Treviso made the most of two tries gifted to them early on and then defended superbly after that.
Connacht have not made things easy on themselves this season and the opening quarter continued that trend when they enjoyed plenty of possession but coughed up easy scores.
Treviso hardly got their hands on the ball early on, but still managed to open up a 10-0 lead after 13 minutes.
Treviso put points on the board with their first attack after 11 minutes to sting Connacht, when South African Willen de Waal converted a 25-metre penalty from the left.
But if that score didn't jolt Connacht, then what happened in the next two minutes should have, as Italian full-back Ludovico Nitoglia rounded Tiernan O'Halloran before slipping the ball inside for Brendan Williams to have a run to the line. De Waal converted to make it 10-0.
Connacht did not panic and continued to build the phases into the wind and battle a good Treviso defence.
But just when it seemed Connacht would claw their way back into contention, a loose pass seemed destined to bounce into touch but winger Tommaso Iannone got a boot to it and chased his own hack to skip over for their second try after 23 minutes.
The conversion was missed by De Waal but it was a small relief to a Connacht side who were now rapidly slipping out of contention, 15-0 down.
They kept ploughing away and got a break after Treviso's Fabio Semenzato was binned for killing the ball.
Connacht didn't make the extra man count initially but, after another penalty to the right corner, they got it right with a fine McSharry try. O'Connor converted to make it 15-7 at the break.
Connacht, with Rodney Ah You adding steel up front, dominated the second half but once again struggled to find a way through, with the Italians mauling superbly any time they got their hands on the ball.
O'Connor found his range after 57 minutes when Treviso flanker Manoa Vosawai was binned and he left just two points between them with 13 minutes remaining with a penalty in front of the posts.
But that was as good as it got and the Italians held on against a Connacht side without a win now since September and facing successive matches against Gloucester in the Heineken Cup.
CONNACHT -- G Duffy; M McCrea, K Tonetti, D McSharry, T O'Halloran; N O'Connor, F Murphy; B Wilkinson, E Reynecke, R Loughney (R Ah You, 54); M Swift (M Kearney, 71), G Naoupu; D Gannon, J Muldoon, R Ofisa.
BENETTON TREVISO -- L Nitoglia; T Iannone, E Galon, A Pratichetti, B Williams; W De Waal, F Semenzato; M Rizzo (L Cittadini, 52), F Sbaraglini (D Vidal, 63), I Fernandez Rouyet (M Muccignat, 66); F Minto (G Padro, 66), B Vermaak; M Vosawai (V Bernabo, 77), P Derbyshire (C van Zyl, 52), M Filippucci.
Ref -- N Hennessy (IRFU).