Benetton bag another Italian derby win
PRO14 REPORT: Tries from Luca Bigi and Federico Ruzza helped Benetton to a powerful 28-10 win over Zebre in the Pro14.
Kieran Crowley’s men secured the bragging rights in the Italian derby for the second straight week after victory in front of a delighted home crowd at Stadio Monigo.
Michele Lamaro added a third try late on for the hosts before Carlo Canna got a consolation for the visitors.
It leaves the men in green in a strong position as part of the chasing pack behind Leinster in Conference B while Zebre stay bottom of Conference A.
Tommaso Allen delighted the home fans early on with two penalties in the first ten minutes but Carlo Canna, who has shared time in the No.10 shirt with Allen for Italy in recent years, pulled his side back into it with a penalty of his own.
Benetton continued to dominate on home turf as they had the best of the territory, which was eventually shown on the scoreboard after Luca Bigi’s 26th-minute try.
The hosts had gone to the rolling maul deep in Zebre’s half a few times but the hooker’s score was the first time it resulted in points, as he peeled off the back of the pack to touch down.
It got worse for the visitors just before the break as George Biagi was sent to the sinbin before Canna’s missed penalty meant it was 11-3 at the break.
Just after half-time the hosts extended their advantage through second row Federico Ruzza.
The ball was spun wide and the forward exchanged passes with wing Iliesa Ratuva before escaping his defending to rumble over in the corner – Allen adding the extras to make it 18-3.
Zebre grew into the game when Biagi returned to the field, causing problems for their rivals at the set piece.
Not long after coming on replacement back-rower Giovanni Pettinelli was given a yellow card for lifting the legs too high in a tackle and just two minutes later Iliesa Tavuyara was also sinbinned for foul play, but Zebre struggled to make their two-man advantage pay.
Despite their dominance it was Benetton who added more points to the scoreboard through an Allen penalty with ten minutes to go.
In the final few minutes Lamaro touched down after a powerful break in midfield before Canna powered over right at the end for a consolation try for the visitors, who finally grabbed a try for their consistent second-half pressure.
Tries: Bigi, Ruzza, Lamaro
Cons: Allan, McKinley
Pens: Allan 3
Yellow cards: Giovanni Pettinelli (Benetton, 60); Ratuva Tavuyara (Benetton, 62); George Biagi (Zebre, 35)
Benetton: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Ratuva Tavuyara, 13 Ignacio Brex, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Angelo Esposito, 10 Ian McKinley, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Marco Barbini (captain), 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Michele Lamaro, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Derrick Appiah.
Replacements: 16 Tomas Baravalle, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Irné Herbst, 20 Giovanni Pettinelli, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Ian McKinley, 23 Tommaso Benvenuti.
Zebre: 15 Edoardo Padovani, 14 Paula Balekana, 13 Giulio Bisegni, 12 Tommaso Castello (captain), 11 James Elliott, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Joshua Renton, 8 Renato Giammarioli, 7 Apisai Tauyavuca, 6 Maxime Mbandà, 5 George Biagi, 4 David Sisi, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Luhandre Luus, 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Replacements: 16 Massimo Ceciliani, 17 Daniele Rimpelli, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Samuele Ortis, 20 Jimmy Tuivaiti, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Francois Brummer, 23 James Brown.
Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Matteo Liperini (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Pennè (Italy)