Poolman try helps Connacht beat Treviso
Danie Poolman crowned his home debut with a try as Connacht battled past Treviso 18-3 in a drab RaboDirect PRO12 affair at the Sportsground.
Former Stormers player Poolman, making his first start for the Irish province at outside centre, touched down to help the hosts to a 13-0 lead at the break.
Treviso's only reply was a crisply-struck penalty from Alberto di Bernardo, but neither side managed to impress in attack amid scenes of heavy rain and strong wind.
Connacht closed out their third win of the league campaign, moving up to eighth place in the process, with a late try from fit-again captain Gavin Duffy.
Tiernan O'Halloran, fresh from training with the Ireland squad, made an early incision and Dan Parks pinged the opening penalty through the posts in the seventh minute. With the wintry conditions leading to multiple mistakes, Connacht were unable to make much headway although Parks provided some welcome direction from out-half.
The former Scotland international added a second penalty before showing great awareness to dink through a kick which led to the westerners' first try. Young full-back Robbie Henshaw led the chase onto Parks' well-weighted punt, toe-poking it on and the onrushing Poolman did well to score after some assistance from O'Halloran. Parks converted unfussily.
The understrength Italians, despite Brendan Williams' best efforts, were unable to threaten in the home 22 in reply and a malfunctioning lineout was their biggest cause for concern.
Treviso did improve in the second period and seemingly lifted their game after replacement Giulio Toniolatti saw yellow on the hour mark.
Out-half Di Bernardo raised their hopes of a late push for a losing bonus point as he slotted a 61st minute penalty. He struck the post with a second penalty attempt, eight minutes from time, before Connacht produced a strong finish to settle the issue.
Parks watched a penalty kick fade away to the right, but replacement John Muldoon's determined run from the restart took him past two defenders and the ball was worked wide for Duffy to dive in at the corner. The Mayo man touched down just moments after being brought on as a replacement, completing his comeback from a recent hamstring injury. Parks missed the conversion but Connacht were out of sight.