Bellini inspires Zebre win over Ospreys
In a rearranged Round 17 fixture, Michael Bradley’s side rose to the occasion emphatically, with 24-year-old Bellini going over three times to help his team follow up their dramatic 34-32 win over the Dragons last time out.
George Biagi got Zebre motoring with eight minutes on the clock, dotting down to score as the hosts drove over the line following a lineout.
Bellini then came to the fore as the hosts scored two more unconverted tries in the space of three minutes, with the winger bagging both.
First, he crashed over the in the corner and then, he turned on the afterburners to hunt down Giulio Bisegni’s boot forward, Bellini blazing a trail to beat James Hook to the ball before thundering over the line.
The Zebre stampede continued apace and with 23 minutes gone, the Italians were 22-0 up, Bisegni going over to earn his team a bonus point after Bisegni had been halted by the Ospreys defence, Carlo Canna adding the extras.
Just past the half-hour mark, the visitors hit back through Sam Cross, who dotted down from a quickly-taken penalty, Sam Davies converting.
Dylan Moss then thought he had chipped away at the deficit even further before half-time but his score was ruled out by the TMO, with the winger’s foot adjudged to have been pushed into touch as he was challenged by Canna.
Once the action resumed, a 55th-minute Canna penalty made it 25-7, a scoreline that stood right up until Bellini burst into life from the scrum and charged his way over the line for a third time with 14 minutes to go.
As the clock counted down, the scoreboard continued to tick over, with Gabriele Di Giulio going over eight minutes from time before Ospreys’ Reuben Morgan-Williams hit straight back, Canna and Davies’ converting their sides’ respective scores.
However, Zebre had done more than enough to claim maximum points.
Tries: Biagi, Bellini 3, Bisegni, Di Giulio
Cons: Canna 2
Tries: Cross, Morgan-Williams
Cons: Davies 2
Zebre: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Giulio Bisegni, 12 Tommaso Castello (c), 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 David Sisi, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Jacopo Sarto, 5 George Biagi, 4 Leonard Krumov, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Oliviero Fabiani, 1 Andrea Lovotti
Replacements: 16 Luhandre Luus, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Valerio Bernabò, 20 Derick Minnie, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Edoardo Padovani, 23 Gabriele Di Giulio
Ospreys: 15 James Hook (c), 14 Dewi Cross, 13 Joe Thomas, 12 Luke Price, 11 Dylan Moss, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Matthew Aubrey, 8 Sam Cross, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Giorgi Nemsadze, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Lloyd Ashley, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Ifan Phillips, 1 Rhodri Jones
Replacements: 16 Dewi Lake, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Alex Jeffries, 19 Matthew Dodd, 20 James Ratti, 21 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 22 Kieran Williams, 23 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler
Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Keith Allen (Scotland), Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Charles Samson (Scotland)