Wednesday 21 March 2018

Erratic Connacht made pay by Italians

Aironi 25 Connacht 13


Connacht's recent good run came to an abrupt halt at Stadio Zaffanella last night when they became the first side to lose to Aironi in the Magners League.

The victory, their first in 18 attempts, sparked off great celebrations by the Italians as Connacht were put to the sword for a sloppy display.

Connacht, having had to dig deep to win 11-6 in the Sportsground against the same opposition earlier this month, knew they would face a big battle to avoid the ignominy of being the first to lose to the new franchise.

Two mistakes saw Connacht slip 14-3 behind after 22 minutes with Kaine Robertson getting the first after Gavin Duffy's pass was intercepted, while Fionn Carr failed to deal with a chip from Danwel Demas and the South African pounced.

Connacht did not get into the Aironi 22 until the 32nd minute but they made it count with a good ruck off a lineout after a penalty to the left corner and while the Italians defended well, Connacht countered and Ian Keatley put Ray Ofisa in for a try which the out-half converted to leave it 14-10 at the interval.

Aironi came out of the blocks after the restart and pushed 20-10 ahead after 48 minutes with Tito Tebaldi adding a penalty and out-half James Marshall landing a drop goal.

Demas killed off the game with a try after 61 minutes and a late Connacht rally failed to yield a bonus point.

Scorers -- Aironi: Robertson, Krause, Demas try each; Tebaldi 2 cons, pen; Marshall d-g. Connacht: Ofisa try; Keatley 2 pens, con

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.

Referee -- N Hennesy (WRU).

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