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Keane demands 'higher standards' after Connacht's escape act

Benetton Treviso 19 Connacht 22

Jack Carty of Connacht kicks a penalty. Photo: Sportsfile
Jack Carty of Connacht kicks a penalty. Photo: Sportsfile

Ronan O'Brien

Connacht coach Kieran Keane wants Connacht to crown their first visit to South Africa this week with a second successive away win.

His men shaped up for their clash with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein next weekend by bringing Benetton Treviso's winning run to a halt.

James Cannon of Connacht in action against Alberto De Marchi of Benetton. Photo: Sportsfile
James Cannon of Connacht in action against Alberto De Marchi of Benetton. Photo: Sportsfile

"Life goes on, we haven't changed in our thinking. We have got to get better and set some higher standards. That's the plan," said Keane.

Connacht looked in trouble when they trailed 7-0 at half-time, to a Benetton side who had won five in a row coming into that game.

But Connacht fought back in the second half and tries from Finlay Bealham, Jarrad Butler and Eoin Griffin got Connacht back on track.

Connacht are still in contention in Europe this season and will host Gloucester in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup next month.

Denis Buckley of Connacht. Photo: Sportsfile
Denis Buckley of Connacht. Photo: Sportsfile

They have struggled in the league but their sixth Guinness PRO14 win of the season means they still have an outside chance of a play-off.

"We have been planning and preparing for this trip for about four weeks," said Keane. "There has been a lot of planning and preparation gone into this. I have been there a few times and what we have done should hold us in good stead because it's a really hard place to win a game of rugby.

"And particularly in the Highveld too. That would be a little bit foreign to most of these guys."

But the way they recovered from their shock home loss to Zebre by winning in Italy at the weekend sets themselves up for their trip to South Africa and Keane is hoping for a further boost there to keep their PRO14 qualification hopes alive.

Benetton Treviso - L Sperandio (M Tagicakibau 76); A Bronzini (M Zanon 53), T Iannone, L Morisi, M Ioane; M Banks, T Tebaldi (G Bronzini 38); F Zani (R Brugnara 50), T Baravalle (H Faiva 40), M Zanusso (C Traore 40); M Lazzaroni, I Herbst (M Fuser 64); A Sgarbi (N Manu 64), M Barbini, W Douglas.

Connacht - T O'Halloran (N Adeolokun 67); C Kelleher, E Griffin, T Farrell (C Ronaldson 80), M Healy; J Carty, C Blade (J Mitchell 76); D Buckley (D Coulson 52), T McCartney (D Heffernan 52), F Bealham (D Robertson-McCoy 52); G Thornbury (U Dillane 20-25), J Cannon (U Dillane 56); S O'Brien (E Masterson 71), J Butler, J Muldoon.

Ref - L Linton (Scotland)

Irish Independent

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