Benetton exact revenge on Zebre
PRO14 REPORT: Monty Ioane’s two tries helped Benetton get revenge on Italian rivals Zebre for last week’s defeat as they edged a low-scoring contest 16-9 in Parma to finish fifth in Conference B.
The Italian sides had the honour of restarting the Pro14 last weekend and nine days on they rounded out the regular season with a rematch at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.
While Zebre had surprisingly triumphed in Treviso in Round 14, Benetton triumphed this time out largely thanks to Ioane two impressive finishes midway through the first half to extend their winning streak in Parma to six games.
The victory saw them jump back above Cardiff Blues to end the campaign in fifth spot in Conference B, while Zebre – who have just one home victory in the PRO14 since October 2018 – finish up sixth in Conference A.
Antonio Rizzi slotted two penalties to Tommaso Allan’s one in the early stages but Benetton shifted the ball through the hands on 20 minutes and Ioane acrobatically finished in the corner for an 8-6 lead.
And the Australian had his second try shortly after as consistently quick ball allowed Benetton to keep making yards in the Zebre 22 before the winger used his fast feet to dance over from close range.
Allan was again unable to add the conversion meaning the half-time advantage was only 13-6, although Rizzi missed a chance to narrow that deficit from the tee early in the second period.
A sustained spell of Benetton pressure led to some brilliant goal-line Zebre defence and despite skipper Giulio Bisegni being sin-binned for not retreating far enough at a penalty, they held firm.
Towards the end of Bisegni’s time in the sin-bin, Ian Keatley did add another three-pointer to the visitors’ tally but when it was 15 v 15 once more, Ratuva Tavuyara was penalised for a deliberate knock-on and Rizzi’s successful kick brought Zebre within a score heading into the final ten minutes.
But from there, Benetton controlled the territory and ran down the clock in and around the home 22 to secure a derby victory.
Player of the Match – Monty Ioane
In a game that, at times, lacked quality, the difference was ultimately two moments of class from Monty Ioane.
The Australian winger athletically dotted down Benetton’s first try on 20 minutes to give the visitors the lead and then extended that advantage with another neat finish form close-range shortly after.
He was busy throughout the game, always offering for the ball and invariably making yards with every carry, which was pivotal to his side ending their campaign on a high.
Play of the Day
Ioane’s first try was a consummate winger’s finish and ultimately gave Benetton a lead they would never surrender.
With both sides having opted for the posts until that point, Kieran Crowley’s men turned down another kickable penalty and went to the corner.
The line-out was secured which enabled them to spread the ball wide and they successfully went through the hands before Ioane sped toward the line and just kept his feet in-bounds to acrobatically touch the ball down.
Pens: Rizzi 3
Tries: Ioane 2
Pens: Allan, Keatley
Zebre: 15 Jacopo Trulla, 14 Giulio Bisegni (c) 13 Federico Mori, 12 Carlo Canna, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Antonio Rizzi, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Renato Giammarioli, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Maxime Mbandà, 5 Leonard Krumov, 4 Cristian Stoian, 3 Matteo Nocera, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Danilo Fischetti
Replacements: 16 Massimo Ceciliani, 17 Daniele Rimpelli, 18 Giosuè Zilocchi, 19 Lorenzo Masselli, 20 Jimmy Tuivati, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Tommaso Boni, 23 Iacopo Bianchi
Benetton: 15 Edoardo Padovani, 14 Ratuva Tavuyara, 13 Ignacio Brex, 12 Tommaso Benvenuti, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Tommaso Allan (captain), 9 Luca Petrozzi, 8 Marco Barbini, 7 Marco Lazzaroni, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Riccardo Favretto, 4 Niccolò Cannone, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 1 Cherif Traore
Replacements: 16 Tomas Baravalle, 17 Ivan Nemer, 18 Filippo Alongi, 19 Giovanni Pettinelli, 20 Manuel Zuliani, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Marco Zanon
Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi
Assistant Referees: Andrea Pairdi, Federico Vedovelli
TMO: Stefano Penne