Details

Date Time Competition Season
21 May 2022 5:00 pm United Rugby Championship 2021/22

Match Report

Connacht end URC campaign on a high

Connacht ended their season in the United Rugby Championship, with a narrow 22-20 bonus point win over Zebre in Galway this afternoon.

A performance they will be content by as they had to endure a late scare to put down the challenge of the Italian minnows.

The home supporters showing their support for their departing players, as all eye will now turn to the 2022/23 season.

Zebre signalled early that they had arrived in Galway to play rugby, controlling the game for the opening minutes but could not convert chances into a try scoring opportunity, they did however lead after four minutes, Carlo Canna landing a penalty for a 3-0 lead.

The Connacht reply was swift and emphatic, after kicking for touch from penalty, they worked the phases well and a couple of fantastic offloads saw them gain ground to the try line, a ruck formed just short of the line and Kieran Marmion was on hand to cross after 7 minutes, the missed conversion leaving just a two point gap in the tie.

After the opening try for the hosts, it looked to have steadied the ship in their favour as they began to come alive and showcase their array of talents, in the attractive style of rugby we expect to see from Andy Friend's outfit.

Niall Murray was the next man on the board for the Westerners, almost a carbon copy of the opening try, a well worked move which saw the Forward power his way over the line for a 10-0 lead on the 16th minute mark, again Jack Carty just missed the target with the conversion. 

Zebre were having their door knocked off the hinges by the Connacht attack, but were managing well in defence to push them back, however once the Connacht maul came into the tie it was game over for the visitors, driving them back toward their line before Eoghan Masterson in his final appearance in green, ran over the third try. Carty found his range to make it 17-3 before the half hour mark.

The Azzurri were up against it for the majority of the half, but showed signs of life after the clock ticked into the red, Lorenzo Pani broke for the line and despite the best efforts of three Connacht players he crossed for their first try of the afternoon, Canna missed the conversion as they reduced the deficit to 17-8 going into the interval.

It took just nine minutes after the restart for Connacht to get their bonus point try, John Porch skipping through the tackles and evaded the Zebre defence before touching down for the try, Carty would again miss the conversion but a healthy 22-8 lead saw them looking comfortable.

As a contest the second half was a dull and dismal affair, evident by the hush coming from the Sportsground, it really failed to come alive until Zebre got their second try after 67 minutes, substitute prop Matteo Nocera getting over after a well worked move in the ruck.

Alarm bells started to ring two minutes from time as Enrico Lucchin ran through the defence, as the men in green failed to land a tackle on the centre as he breezed his way over the try line, the conversion made it 22-20 into the final minutes, a nail biting end to the tie but one Connacht will be happy they managed to come out with a win.

Connacht

15Oran McNulty Full-Back
14John Porch Winger 49'
13Tom Farrell 23 Centre
12Tom Daly Centre
11Alex Wootton Winger
10Jack Carty 22 Fly-Half 26'
9Kieran Marmion 21 Scrum-Half 7'
1Denis Buckley 17 Prop
2Dylan Tierney 16 Hooker
3Finlay Bealham 18 Prop
4Gavin Thornbury 19 Lock
5Niall Murray Lock 16'
6Eoghan Masterson 20 Flanker 25'
7Sean Masterson Flanker
8Cian Prendergast No. 8
16Dave Heffernan 2 Hooker
17Matthew Burke 1 Prop
18Sam Illo 3
19Ultan Dillane 4 Lock
20Abraham Papali’i 6 No. 8
21Colm Reilly 9 Scrum-Half
22Conor Fitzgerald 10 Fly-Half
23Sam Arnold 13 Centre

Zebre

15Lorenzo Pani Full-Back 40+1'
14Asaeli Tuivuaka Winger
13Franco Smith 23 Centre
12Enrico Lucchin Centre 78'
11Jacopo Trulla Winger
10Carlo Canna Fly-Half 78'
4'
9Chris Cook 22 Scrum-Half
1Danilo Fischetti 17 Prop
2Luca Bigi 16 Hooker
3Eduardo Bello 18 Prop
4David Sisi Lock
5Andrea Zambonin 19 Lock
6Luca Andreani 20 Flanker
7Jacopo Bianchi Flanker
8Taina Fox-Matamua No. 8
16Giampietro Ribaldi 2
17Paolo Buonfiglio 1 Prop
18Matteo Nocera 3 Prop 67'
19Leonard Krumov 5 Forward
20Ross Michael Vintcent 6
21Nicolo Casilio Back
22Alessandro Fusco 9 Back
23Junior Laloifi 13 Full-Back

Past Meetings

(Round 7)
12 - 47
PRO14
Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi

Zebre vs Connacht

Ground

The Sportsgrounds
The Sportsgrounds, Galway City, County Galway, Ireland

Diarmuid Kearney is a freelance Sports Journalist based in Co Kerry. He has more than 5 years experience covering domestic and international soccer for different media organisations, while also working for local and national print and digital organisations covering GAA.