Connacht hang on against Treviso
March 4, 2011
Connacht fly-half Ian Keatley contributed 16 points to his side's victory over Treviso
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Connacht had to dig deep to record a narrow 31-25 home win over Magners League opponents Treviso, who finished strongly to claim a late bonus point.
With their stand-in captain Johnny O'Connor in the sin-bin, Connacht leaked a penalty try which Willem de Waal converted to get the Italians within a converted score of victory. But Eric Elwood's men, who had stormed into a handsome early lead, held on to move above the visitors in the Magners League standings.
Troy Nathan and the excellent Frank Murphy scored tries to move Connacht 18-0 ahead, before Michele Sepe and Manoa Vosawai responded for Treviso. Ian Keatley, who finished with 16 points, kicked the hosts into a 24-12 half-time lead, but Treviso put the hosts under huge pressure late on.
Treviso took their time to settle at the Sportsground and an early sin-binning for Fijian flanker Vosawai, for a dangerous tackle on Ray Ofisa, left them in trouble. They were already 7-0 down at that point, with a Keatley pass creating an overlap and Brian Tuohy drawing the defender for Nathan to score a converted opener.
While Vosawai was off, Keatley added a penalty and his half-back partner Murphy wriggled over for an 11th-minute try following a good drive from Jamie Hagan and a quick recycle. In a fast-paced opening quarter, Brendan Williams used counter-attack ball to pose problems for the hosts. Their first scoring chance was missed by De Waal, who was narrowly wide with a lengthy penalty.
Keatley stretched Connacht's lead to 18 points but this was Treviso's cue to raise their game. A defensive mix-up allowed winger Sepe scoop up a loose ball and dot down for De Waal to convert. Vosawai bulldozed over from a good lineout platform for the second try, but Connacht took the sting out of those scores with two crisply-struck penalties from Keatley. The outside half gave Connacht a decent lead at the break and a 47th-minute try for Tuohy had Elwood's side in sight of the bonus point.
A bounce of the ball caught the covering Williams out and the onrushing Tuohy gathered it to run in under the posts. Keatley converted for a 31-12 advantage. Back came the visitors with a brace of De Waal penalties and Keatley missed a tricky shot at the posts as Treviso continued to improve.
The visiting forwards were imposing themselves suddenly with Williams threatening from the back. O'Connor was carded for an off the ball offence, and the Connacht scrum gave way for the converted penalty try. But Connacht's determination got them over the finish line in an error-strewn finale.
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