Pro14: Clinical 14-man Connacht hammer Zebre in Italy


Sean O’Brien scored on his return from a long-term hamstring injury
Zebre: (7) 12
Tries: Boni, Manfredi Con: Rizzi
Connacht: (23) 47
Tries: O’Brien, Wootton 2, Arnold, S Daly, Penalty, T Daly Cons: Carty, Fitzgerald Pens: Carty 2

Connacht scored seven tries against Zebre to record a dominant 47-12 win in the Pro14 despite Abraham Papali’i’s red card in Parma.

Tomasso Boni scored inside two minutes for Zebre but the returning Sean O’Brien and two tries from Alex Wootton put Connacht in control.

Sammy Arnold and Shane Daly extended the margin before Papali’i was sent off with 23 minutes to play.

However a penalty try and a Tom Daly score rounded out a convincing victory.

The hosts took the lead inside two minutes when Boni darted through a gap in the Connacht defence to touch down.

Jack Carty kicked two penalties to reduce the deficit before O’Brien powered his way over on 21 minutes to mark his first start in two years with a try.

Wootton scored two quickfire tries to put Connacht in control, first rounding off a scintillating team move on 35 minutes to before racing clear for an intercept score on the stroke of half-time, with Carty kicking his first conversion of the game to give Andy Friend’s side a 23-7 lead at the break.

Sammy Arnold secured the bonus-point in Parma
Sammy Arnold secured the bonus-point in Parma

The bonus point was secured two minutes after the restart when centre Arnold crossed in the corner before Shane Daly powered his way over for the visitor’s fifth score.

Despite a comfortable advantage, Connacht were given a scare when impressive centre Tom Farrell was forced off through injury and replacement back row Papali’i was shown a red card after a collision with Boni on 57 minutes.

Zebre immediately took advantage when hooker Marco Manfredi scored the hosts’ second try of the match but any hope of a comeback was ended when referee Dan Jones awarded a penalty try when a Connacht maul was brought down on the line by the home pack.

Tom Daly collected Conor Fitzgerald’s kick to score Connacht’s seventh try as the Irish side move into second position in Conference B after the bonus-point win.

Zebre: Junior Laloifi, Giovanni D’Onofrio, Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Boni, Gabriele Di Giulio, Antonio Rizzi, Joshua Renton; Andrea Lovotti, Marco Manfredi, Eduardo Bello, Leonard Krumov, Mick Kearney; Lorenzo Masselli, Renato Giammarioli, David Sisi.

Replacements: Oliviero Fabiani, Riccardo Brugnara, Alexandru Tarus, Matteo Nocera, Massimo Ceciliani, Nicolò Casilio, Paolo Pescetto, Michelangelo Biondelli.

Connacht: John Porch, Sammy Arnold, Tom Farrell, Tom Daly, Alex Wootton, Jack Carty, Colm Reilly, Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Jack Aungier, Eoghan Masterson, Gavin Thornbury, Sean O’Brien, Sean Masterson, Jarrad Butler (capt).

Replacements: Jonny Murphy, Paddy McAllister, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Abraham Papali’l, Stephen Kerins, Conor Fitzgerald, Peter Sullivan.

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