Ili hat-trick puts Connacht on top

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 18:17
Large connacht try 800

EUROPEAN CUP REPORT: Stacey Ili scored a hat-trick as Connacht romped to their biggest win in the European Champions Cup.

The eight-try demolition of 14-man Zebre in Sunday put the Irish province at the top of Pool Two.

Wing Ili crossed three times in an eventful clash at Stadio Lanfranchi that also saw two yellow cards and a red, in the first half, for Zebre hooker Oliviero Fabiani.

Connacht fullback Cian Kelleher also crossed twice in the second half as the Pro12 champions smashed their previous record score - also against Zebre - in this tournament.

It was a world away from Connacht's visit to Parma last month when they trailed the home side at half-time when a torrential downpour saw the game abandoned. This time Pat Lam's side made their intentions clear from the opening exchanges though were helped by Italian mistakes.

Zebre saw centre Tommaso Boni withdraw before kick-off and it was a mistake in midfield under their own posts that put Connacht on the front foot. Craig Ronaldson thought he was over but the video official ruled a double movement.

The pressure told in the 10th minute when Ili raced onto Jack Carty's kick to touch down in the corner and Ronaldson converted. Carty then scored himself but it was courtesy of Peter Robb's bone-crunching tackle on Carlo Canna that dislodged the ball and the fly-half galloped in from the half-way line.

Sean O'Brien was sin-binned for knocking the ball out of Marcello Violi's hands on 29 minutes, but worse was to come for Zebre just seconds later when hooker Fabiani was dismissed by French referee Mathieu Raynal for biting Connacht lock Quinn Roux.

Ili grabbed his second try just a minute into the second half and Zebre were down to 13 men when centre Tommy Castello was ruled to have deliberately infringed at a ruck.

Ili saw a third try ruled out for a forward pass but Connacht still made their advantage count with three tries in a remarkable six-minute blitz. The forwards applied enough pressure to earn a penalty try, Kelleher skipped over for this first and prop Conor Carey touched down between 51 and 55 minutes.

Zebre at least avoided a whitewash when Tommason D'Apice dived over from a yard out only for Kelleher and Ili to complete the rout.


For Zebre
Con: Padovani

For Connacht
Carty, Ili 3, Carey, Kelleher 2
Cons: Ronaldson 5, O’Leary

Yellow cards: Sean O'Brien (Connacht, 28 - cynical foul, slapping the ball out of an opponent's hand), Tommy Castello (Zebre, 48 - cynical foul, killing the ball at a ruck)
Red card: Oliviero Fabiani (Zebre, 29 - foul play, biting)

The scorers:

Zebre: 15 Edoardo Padovani, 14 Gabriele Di Giulio, 13 Giulio Bisegni, 12 Tommaso Boni, 11 Giambattista Venditti, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Dries van Schalkwyk, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Maxime Mbanda, 5 George Biagi, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 2 Oliviero Fabiani, 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D’Apice, 17 Bruno Postiglioni, 18 Guillermo Roan, 19 Josh Furno, 20 Federico Ruzza, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Tommy Castello, 23 Giovanni D’Onofrio.

Connacht: 15 Cian Kelleher, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Peter Robb, 12 Craig Ronaldson, 11 Stacey Ili, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 John Muldoon, 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Sean O’Brien, 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Shane Delahunt, 1 JP Cooney.
Replacements: 16 David Heffernan, 17 Dominic Robertson McCoy, 18 Conor Carey, 19 Ultan Dillane, 20 Eoin McKeon, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Shane O’Leary, 23 Bundee Aki.

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Tual Trainini (France), Thomas Déjean)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

Source: @ChampionsCup

There are currently no matches being played
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
Fri, 03 March 2017
Chiefs v Blues 06h35 Hamilton
Connacht v Zebre 19h35 Ascoli Piceno
Ulster v Treviso 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Edinburgh v Ospreys 19h35 Myreside
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 20h15 AJ Bell Stadium
Sat, 04 March 2017
Hurricanes v Rebels 04h15 Wellington
Highlanders v Crusaders 06h45 Dunedin
Brumbies v Sharks 08h45 Canberra
Sunwolves v Kings 10h55 Singapore
Lions v Waratahs 13h05 Johannesburg
Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Welford Road
Glasgow Warriors v Dragons 15h00 Scotstoun Stadium
Worcester Warriors v Bristol 15h00 Sixways
Bath v Wasps 15h00 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Harlequins 15h00 Kingsholm
Stormers v Jaguares 15h15 Cape Town
Cardiff Blues v Munster 17h15 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Cheetahs v Bulls 17h30 Bloemfontein
Leinster v Scarlets 19h35 RDS Arena
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 6 5 0 1 24
Glasgow Warriors 6 4 0 2 19
Leicester Tigers 6 2 0 4 8
Racing Metro 6 1 0 5 5
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 6 4 1 1 22
Toulouse 6 3 2 1 18
Connacht 6 4 0 2 18
Zebre 6 0 0 6 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 6 5 1 0 24
Toulon 6 3 0 3 16
Scarlets 6 2 1 3 11
Sale Sharks 6 1 0 5 4
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 6 4 1 1 23
Montpellier 6 3 0 3 16
Castres 6 2 1 3 12
Northampton Saints 6 2 0 4 9
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 6 5 0 1 26
Bordeaux 6 3 0 3 14
Exeter Chiefs 6 2 0 4 12
Ulster 6 2 0 4 10