Historic win for Aironi
March 26, 2011
Aironi's Alberto de Marchi is hauled down by the Connacht defence
© Getty Images
Aironi tasted victory in the Magners League for the first time by defeating Connacht 25-13 at the Stadio Luigi Zaffanella in Viadana on Saturday afternoon.
While the newly-formed Italian outfit had managed to beat Biarritz in the Heineken Cup earlier in their season, they had lost their 17 previous Magners League matches. However, tries from Kaine Robertson, Gareth Krause and Danwel Demas enabled Aironi to belatedly break their duck. Tito Tebaldi converted two of those scores and also landed a penalty, while James Marshall contributed a drop goal.
Connacht, who had gone into the game having won six of their last seven games, managed just one try by way of a response, through Ray Ofisa, and eight points from the boot of Ian Keatley as the Irish province squandered the opportunity to move above the Newport Gwent Dragons and into seventh place in the standings.
Aironi did not look a side low on confidence in the early exchanges and they took the lead eight minutes in when Italy winger Robertson touched down. Connacht replied with a penalty from Keatley but Aironi were over again midway through the second half when flanker Krause dotted.
Ofisa's 34th-minute try, which was converted by Keatley, ensured that Connacht only went in 14-10 down at the break but the home side pulled clear early in the second half thanks to a penalty from Tebaldi and a drop goal from Marshall before sealing their win when Demas scampered over with 16 minutes to go, sending the long-suffering Viadana crowd into raptures.
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