Pro12: Zebre 19-27 Connacht

ZEBRE (0) 19

  • Tries: Venditti, Vunisa, Van Schalkwyk
  • Cons: Nathan, Chillon

CONNACHT (22) 27

  • Tries: Ah You, Marmion, Penalty, Griffin
  • Cons: Parks 2
  • Pens: Parks

Connacht moved up to 10th in the Pro12 table after holding on to beat basement side Zebre in Sunday's game in Italy.

Touchdowns from Rodney Ah You and Kieran Marmion plus a penalty try helped Connacht lead 22-0 at half-time.

Eoin Griffin's try ensured Connacht's bonus point as they extended their lead to 27 points.

Giovanbattista Venditti, Samuela Vunisa and Dries van Schalkwyk notched Zebre's tries but Connacht were never in any danger of being caught.

Connacht and Zebre have swapped bottom position in the Pro12 table in recent months and both teams knew the importance of Sunday's game.

However, it was the visitors who took decisive control in the opening half to virtually end the match as a contest.

Former Scotland international fly-half Dan Parks kicked Connacht into a third-minute lead and Ireland Six Nations squad inclusion Ah You touched down shortly afterwards to extend the Irish province's lead.

Scrum-half Marmion notched his team's second try after Salvatore Perugini's yellow card and a strong scrum shove then resulted in Welsh referee Ian Davies awarding a penalty try to the visitors.

After Griffin's try following the restart had sealed Connacht's bonus point, their level of performance began to drop.

Tries from Venditti and Vunisa narrowed the deficit to 27-12, with Troy Nathan kicking one conversion but missing the next

Van Schalkwyk added a late third Zebre try, too late for the Italian side to give serious thought to a more consequential fightback.

Connacht's win moves them eights points ahead of the bottom club and the Irish province are now only one point behind ninth-placed Cardiff Blues.

TEAMS

Zebre: Ruggero Trevisan; Dion Berryman, Kameli Ratuvou, Roberto Quartaroli, Giovanbattista Venditti; Troy Nathan, Brendon Leonard; Salvatore Perugini, Tommaso D'apice, Dario Chistolini; Michael Van Vuren, George Biagi; Emiliano Caffini, Andries Van Schalkwyk (capt), Samuela Vunisa Replacements: Andrea De Marchi for Perugini 55, Luca Redolfini for Chistolini 49, Filippo Cazzola for Van Vuren 71, Alberto Saccardo for Caffini 49, Alberto Chillon for Nathan 71, Giulio Toniolatti for Trevisan 54

Not used: Lorenzo Giovanchelli, Giulio Bisegni

Connacht: Darragh Leader; Tiernan O'Halloran, Eoin Griffin, Dave McSharry, Fionn Carr; Dan Parks, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Jason Harris-Wright, Rodney Ah You; Michael Swift, Mick Kearney; Andrew Browne, Eoghan Masterson, John Muldoon (capt). Replacements: Dave Heffernan for Harris-Wright 56, Finlay Bealham for Buckley 74, JP Cooney for Ah You 71, Aly Muldowney for Swift 49, George Naoupu for 56, Danie Poolman for Griffin 62.

Not used: Paul O'Donohoe, Miah Nikora

Referee: Ian Davies (Wales