Sunday 17 December 2017

Unlucky 13 for limp Connacht

Aironi 20 Connacht 6


Aironi piled more misery on Connacht yesterday by condemning them to their 13th straight defeat. Without a win since September 23, Eric Elwood's men cut a dispirited bunch by the end of a dour encounter, in which they registered just two penalties, and failed to land even a bonus point.

They now drop to second last in the league table, just three points above Aironi who recorded back-to-back home league wins for the first time.

Despite having much of the play during the first half, things were already looking bleak for Connacht at half time as they trudged off 9-0 down. Aironi showed precious little attacking guile, but Luciano Orquera knocked over three penalties as Connacht infringed persistently all over the pitch.

Connacht's up-hill struggle had turned into a mountain expedition within minutes of the second half. Some weak tackling allowed Sinoti Sinoti to sneak in for the opening try and though Orquera missed the conversion, he tacked on another penalty to leave the hosts with a 17-point lead.

Connacht eventually got off the mark thanks to a penalty by Jarvis, but Orquera replied with another of his own. Fabio Staibano was then lucky to survive with just a yellow after a punch up with Michael Swift shortly before Fetu'u Vainikolo was held up after appearing to touch down. Connacht, by now, were desperately in need of a try to get back into the game, but could only muster another penalty by substitute Niall O'Connor as the home defence held strong.

Scorers -- Aironi: Sinoti try, Orquera 5 pens. Connacht: Jarvis, O'Connor pens.

Aironi: A Masi; G Toniolatti, R Quartaroli (Benettin 75), G Pizarro , S Sinoti; L Orquera (N Olivier 65), T Keats (T Tebaldi 61); A de Marchi , R Santamaria (T d'Apice 46), F Staibano; J Furno (Geldenhuys 41), M Bortolami; N Cattina, S Favaro (Romano 62-66) (M Bergamasco 70), J Sole.

Connacht: G Duffy; F Vainikolo, K Tonetti, D McSharry (H Fa'afili 59), T O'Halloran; M Jarvis (N O'Connor 50), F Murphy (P O'Donohoe 70); B Wilkinson (D Buckley 59), A Flavin (E Reynecke 41), D Rogers (S Maguire 68); M Swift, M McCarthy; M Kearney (S Maguire 43-50) (R Ofisa 55), J Muldoon (E McKeon 70), G Naoupu.

Referee: A McMenemy (Scotland)

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