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Connacht finished their Heineken Cup campaign on a high with a battling 25-20 victory over Zebre on Friday night.
The Irish province overcame testing conditions and stubborn opposition at the Sportsground to prevail and end with three Pool 3 victories to their name.
The returning Dan Parks kicked 20 points for Connacht, who bossed the forward exchanges and were awarded a decisive penalty try in the second half.
Zebre picked up a losing bonus point for their efforts to ensure they avoided the ignominy of finishing the campaign pointless.
Parks, who returned to the side after missing last week's defeat to Harlequins, kicked two penalties to just one from Daniel Halangahu in the opening quarter of an hour as the home side dominated territory for the most part.
Both sides struggled to find their attacking fluency in difficult conditions and a further penalty apiece saw the players make their way to the changing rooms at half time with Connacht leading 12-6.
Connacht probably thought they had made the crucial breakthrough five minutes after the restart as the power of their pack proved too much in the scrum and the referee had no option but to award them a penalty try.
Zebre had other ideas, however, and their forwards responded in the best possible manner by marching straight back up the field and giving their kicker two penalty opportunities in quick succession to reduce the deficit to seven points.
And the Italian backs then did their bit as well, producing the moment of the match as Giovanbattista Venditti found a gap in the defence and sprinted away before offloading to Matteo Pratichetti, who fed Ruggero Trevisan to score in the corner.
Halangahu missed the conversion from out wide but he made up for that moments later with another penalty that gave Zebre an unlikely lead with just 10 minutes left on the clock.
The Italians' ill-discipline cost them in the though and they let Connacht off the hook by conceding a penalty almost immediately, which Parks converted.
And the former Scotland international made sure that the home side did make it a total of three victories in this season's Heineken Cup and the visitors remain winless in all competitions with a second drop goal of the night five minutes from time.
|Friday 6th December|
|20:00||Castres vs Ospreys|
|20:00||Cardiff Blues vs Glasgow|
|Saturday 7th December|
|18:00||Northampton vs Leinster|
|13:35||Exeter vs Toulon|
|13:35||Zebre vs Saracens|
|13:35||Clermont Auvergne vs Scarlets|
|15:40||Racing Metro 92 vs Harlequins|
|18:00||Ulster vs Benetton Treviso|
|Sunday 8th December|
|15:00||Toulouse vs Connacht|
|15:00||Leicester vs Montpellier|
|12:45||Munster vs Perpignan|
|13:00||Edinburgh vs Gloucester|
|Friday 13th December|
|20:00||Ospreys vs Castres|
|20:00||Glasgow vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 14th December|
|18:00||Leinster vs Northampton|
|13:35||Toulon vs Exeter|
|15:00||Saracens vs Zebre|
|18:00||Connacht vs Toulouse|
|15:40||Scarlets vs Clermont Auvergne|
|13:35||Benetton Treviso vs Ulster|
|15:40||Perpignan vs Munster|
|Sunday 15th December|
|12:45||Harlequins vs Racing Metro 92|
|15:00||Montpellier vs Leicester|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Edinburgh|
|Saturday 11th January|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Northampton|
|Sunday 20th October|
|Clermont Auvergne 23 - 16 Harlequins|
|Glasgow 20 - 16 Exeter|
|Northampton 27 - 16 Ospreys|
|Perpignan 31 - 14 Edinburgh|
|Saturday 19th October|
|Scarlets 26 - 26 Racing Metro 92|
|Munster 26 - 10 Gloucester|
|Leinster 19 - 7 Castres|
|Montpellier 8 - 25 Ulster|
|Cardiff Blues 19 - 15 Toulon|
|Zebre 6 - 33 Connacht|
|Friday 18th October|
|Leicester 34 - 3 Benetton Treviso|
|Saracens 16 - 17 Toulouse|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Stuart Barnes with skysports.com