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Treble hero Boyle leads Connacht to big victory

Connacht 31 Benetton 14


Paul Boyle

Paul Boyle

�INPHO/James Crombie

Paul Boyle

Paul Boyle celebrated his first time captaining Connacht with a hat-trick of tries in their 31-14 Guinness PRO14 win over Benetton at the Sportsground.

Backed by a very strong wind, Connacht led 24-7 at half-time thanks to No.8 Boyle's brace and further scores from wingers Peter Sullivan and Alex Wootton.

Prop Filippo Alongi replied for Benetton, albeit that Tommaso Benevenuti's subsequent sin-binning saw his side leak two tries.

With their bonus point in the bag, Boyle sealed his hat-trick in the 53rd minute as the black-clad hosts moved into second place in Conference B.

Benetton had a late consolation score from captain Dewaldt Duvenage.

There were some bright moments early on for Benetton, suitably attired in an eye-catching all-yellow kit, but their scrum quickly started leaking penalties.

Caolin Blade was held up before Boyle crashed over from a five-metre scrum for his 13th-minute opener, converted by Conor Fitzgerald.

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Backs and forwards then combined in a 23rd-minute lineout drive to propel Sullivan over the line for his first try for the Irish province.

Centre Benvenuti's yellow card was hugely costly for the visitors as, shortly after they had closed the deficit to five points, Connacht went wide to the left and Sullivan's well-timed pass sent Wootton over on the half-hour mark.

Fly-half Fitzgerald was able to convert Boyle's second score of the night, which came close to the interval to establish a 17-point advantage, which was always going to be a winning one.

Belfast Telegraph