RaboDirect PRO12: Connacht claim bonus-point win at Zebre
Last Updated: 23/02/14 9:32pm
Kieran Marmion: Crossed for Connacht
Connacht opened up an eight-point gap at the bottom of the RaboDirect PRO12 standings after beating basement side Zebre 27-19 on Sunday.
Scores from Rodney Ah You and Kieran Marmion, as well as a penalty try, saw the Irish province go into the break with a 22-0 advantage.
Eoin Griffin's second-half try sealed the five points for the visitors, although Giovanbattista Venditti, Samuela Vunisa and Dries van Schalkwyk touchdowns gave the Italian side some consolation.
Zebre have only won two games since joining the PRO12, but this encounter against a team directly above them is one they would have targeted.
However, their first half performance proved disastrous as Connacht dominated the opening 25 minutes.
Dan Parks' penalty three minutes into the match gave the visitors the lead before Ah You touched down soon after to extend that advantage.
Pat Lam's men continued to control proceedings and, following Salvatore Perugini's yellow card, Marmion went over.
Zebre nearly hit back through Andrea de Marchi, but the prop was ruled to be in touch and an excellent opening period for the Irish side ended when they were awarded a penalty try from a scrum.
It was more of the same after the interval as Connacht crossed the whitewash for the fourth time through Griffin.
Venditti then halted the slide for the hosts when he finished well in the corner before an excellently executed set-piece move saw the Italians go over for their second.
Van Schalkwyk had the last say for the home team when he touched down late on, but it only partially masked their disappointing first-half display.
Fri 24th Apr
Edinburgh37 - 0Zebre
Ulster26 - 10Leinster
Sat 25th Apr
Connacht13 - 31Glasgow Warriors
Cardiff Blues23 - 31Ospreys
Munster30 - 19Treviso
Dragons10 - 29Scarlets
Fri 8th May
Dragons0 - 0Edinburgh
Leinster0 - 0Treviso
Ospreys0 - 0Glasgow Warriors
Sat 9th May
Ulster0 - 0Munster
Zebre0 - 0Connacht
Sun 10th May
Scarlets0 - 0Cardiff Blues
Sat 16th May
Cardiff Blues0 - 0Zebre
Connacht0 - 0Ospreys
Edinburgh0 - 0Leinster
Glasgow Warriors0 - 0Ulster
Munster0 - 0Dragons
Treviso0 - 0Scarlets
RaboDirect PRO12 2013/14 R15
Munster returned to the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table with a 25-11 victory over Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium.
Darren Cave and Robbie Diack tries helped Ulster beat Treviso 14-12 in the RaboDirect PRO12 on Sunday.
Dragons inflicted just the third defeat of the RaboDirect PRO12 season on Glasgow Warriors with a 24-23 victory.