Connacht and Ulster see off Italian opposition

Zebre and Benetton Treviso were tonight's opponents respectively

Lewis Stevenson, Connacht, Zebre, Pro 12, rugby

Connacht's Lewis Stevenson scores his sides fifth try ©INPHO/James Crombie

Connacht and Ulster both secured wins over Italian opposition in Friday night's Guinness Pro 12 action.

Connacht enjoyed a bonus point over Zebre in difficult conditions for both sides at the Sportsground.

Wing Niyi Adeolokun got the opening Connacht try after eight minutes with John Cooney converting.

Naulia Dawai then added a second try on 26 minutes, although there were no extra two points on that occasion, as Connacht went into the break 12-0 to the good. 

Guglielmo Palazzani got Zebre's only points of the night when he kicked a penalty on 45 minutes to reduce Connacht's lead to nine points.

Captain John Muldoon then extended Connacht's lead when he got a try of his own with 19 minutes to go.

And the bonus point was duly delivered when Connacht earned a penalty try.

Lewis Stevenson scored the fifth try of the night for the Irish province to put the icing on the cake.

Craig Ronaldson's conversion left the scores at 33-3.

Ulster's Jared Payne scores a try ©INPHO/Presseye/Matt Mackey

While Ulster did beat Benetton Treviso 19-7, they fell short of securing a bonus point.

Ireland international Jared Payne had seen some action against Zebre last week as he makes his return to action in time for the next Six Nations match against Wales.

He got in some try scoring action as well at Kingspan Stadium against Treviso, putting Ulster in front on 21 minutes with Ruan Pienaar adding the conversion.

Sean Reidy got the second Ulster try 14 minutes into the second half and Charles Piatau got in for a third.

But the province could not get the crucial fourth try that would have secured a valuable bonus point. 

Meanwhile Ospreys beat Edinburgh 13-9 to leapfrog Leinster at the top of the table before the Irish side are in action tomorrow.