Pro12: Benetton Treviso 19-34 Connacht
|Guinness Pro12: Treviso v Connacht|
|Treviso (5) 19|
|Tries: Buondonno, Sperandio, Pratichetti Cons: Buondonno, Tebaldi|
|Connacht (20) 34|
|Tries: Blade, Bealham, Ronaldson, O'Halloran Cons: Ronaldson 3, Carty Pens: Ronaldson 2|
Connacht boosted their hopes of securing a Champions Cup place for next season with an impressive bonus-point 34-19 Pro12 win over Treviso in Italy.
Caolin Blade and Finlay Bealham scored first-half tries, with Craig Ronaldson and Tiernan O'Halloran crossing in the second for the champions.
Andrea Buondonno, Luca Sperandio and Andrea Pratichetti touched down for the hosts, who trailed 20-5 at half-time.
Eighth-placed Connacht are three points behind Cardiff, with one game in hand.
The visitors made a quick start and took the lead on 15 minutes with a Craig Ronaldson penalty and the centre followed that with a second soon after to stretch the lead to 6-0.
Just before the half-hour they made the breakthrough with Caolin Blade slicing through after O'Halloran had initially put them in good position with a good run.
Ronaldson converted and was on target again four minutes later when Finlay Bealham had gone over. The tighthead showed his athleticism to sprint over from ten metres out after a good break from Niyi Adeolokun.
Trailing 20-0, Treviso needed a response and got one from winger Buondonno. He went over on the left-hand side, although the conversion was off-target.
The second half started with Connacht still on top Jack Carty playing a delightful grubber through for Ronaldson to dot down. He converted his own score to make it 27-5.
And then it was the turn of O'Halloran on the hour who sealed the five points as he went over following an intercept from Adeolokun. Carty had taken over the kicking duties by this point and added the extras, but it was the home side who finished the stronger.
They closed out with two converted tries, the first coming from full-back Sperandio who showed all his pace to sprint away and over the line. Scrum-half Tito Tebaldi added the extras for Benetton.
And then with five minutes remaining Pratichetti went over for a third Treviso try, with first-half try-scorer Buondonno converting.
The home side had five minutes remaining to grab a try bonus point of their own, but they could not manage it as Connacht held out.
Benetton Treviso: Sperandio, Tagicakibau, Iannone, Sgarbi, Buondonno, McKinley, Tebaldi, Zani, Bigi, Pasquali, Paulo, Budd, Lazzaroni, Minto, Barbieri.
Replacements: Odiete for Tagicakibau (49), Francescato for Tebaldi (73), Santamaria for Bigi (61), Irvine for Pasquali (72), Nostran for Paulo (48), Pratichetti for Minto (68), Ferrarini for Barbieri (63).
Not Used: Rossetto
Connacht: O'Halloran, Adeolokun, Aki, Ronaldson, Poolman, Carty, Blade, Buckley, Delahunt, Bealham, Dillane, Cannon, O'Brien, Fox-Matamua, Muldoon (capt).
Replacements: Heffernan for Fox-Matamua (67), Cooney for Buckley (62), Andress for Bealham (62), Roux fro Dillane (57), Dawai for Muldoon (62), Cooney, Farrell for Ronaldson (64), Ili for Aki (62).