CONNACHT SUFFERED A shock 25-22 loss away to Zebre in the Guinness Pro12 this afternoon.
A tight game saw the Italians take a 13-12 half-time lead, before pulling away from Pat Lam’s side after the break.
A converted Josh Rowland try in the 78th minute gave the visitors a flicker of hope, but it proved too little too late.
The result is a major blow to Connacht’s hopes of automatic qualification into next season’s Champions Cup and will go down as one of the worst results in Lam’s tenure as head coach.
Connacht remain seventh in the Pro12 table, but the Cardiff Blues are just two points behind them with four regular-season rounds to go.
The westerners made a fine start to the clash against Zebre, with early tries from Stacey Ili and Craig Ronaldson, but it proved to be a nightmare afternoon for the remainder of the contest.
Derick Minnie, Tommaso Boni and Edoardo Padovani all scored tries as Zebre went on to record their first win over Irish opposition since September 2014.
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