Harries breaks Benetton hearts
PRO14 REPORT: Super-sub Jason Harries came on to break Benetton hearts with an injury-time try that secured a comeback five-point win for Cardiff Blues.
The Welsh region trailed for much of the match with Benetton scoring a pair of excellent tries to engineer a big second-half lead, but the Blues never gave up and stole the points with Harries’ late show.
As expected the Leoni started on the front foot and although they couldn’t make it over the line Tommaso Allan struck an early three-pointer with Kirby Myhill penalised in front of the posts.
Blues responded with several good phases of play and drove over with flanker James Botham touching down on his first Championship start.
Playing in Treviso though the lead was never likely to last long and the hosts replied with a muscular effort of their own through Marco Riccioni, converted by Allan before Jason Tovey levelled up at 10-10.
Six minutes from time came the moment of the half as Ratuva Tavuyara stormed down the right flank to give the hosts a 15-10 lead at the interval.
Allan kicked a penalty to begin the second half but Lloyd Williams’ try in response helped cut the lead to 18-17, then on 56 minutes Alberto Sgarbi and Nacho Brex combined beautifully in midfield and Monty Ioane touched down a grubber in the corner for an excellent score.
Federico Zani got Benetton’s fourth but Blues wouldn’t lie down and made it 28-24 through Alun Lawrence’s try on 68 minutes – better was still to come for the travelling Welsh support.
The visitors scrambled to find a winner and after a late penalty swung play from right to left, centre Rey Lee-Lo eventually ghosting through the defence and Harries circling in under the posts from the left.
Man of the Match – Toa Halafihi
Benetton No.8 Toa Halafihi picked up the man of the match award on the day for a tireless display with a couple of clean breaks, 10 tackles and 33 metres claimed from 13 carries.
Play of the Day
Two short-range forward efforts got the early tries in this one, until on 34 minutes the Benetton backs took over to devastating effect.
The Italian side created a lovely blindside move off an attacking scrum to give Tavuyara a reasonably clear run to the line, Dewaldt Duvenage running decoy to the openside and the big man unstoppable at pace despite Tovey’s scramble.
Tries: Riccioni, Ratuva Tavuyara, Ioane, Zani
Pens: Allan 2
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Botham, Williams, Lawrence, Harries
Cons: Tovey 4
Benetton: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Ratuva Tavuyara, 13 Ignacio Brex, 12 Alberto Sgarbi (captain), 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Toa Halafihi, 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Marco Lazzaroni, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Irné Herbst, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Hame Faiva, 1 Nicola Quaglio
Replacements: 16 Federico Zani, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Niccolò Cannone, 20 Federico Ruzza, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Luca Sperandio
Cardiff Blues: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Aled Summerhill, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Garyn Smith, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Lloyd Williams (captain), 8 Will Boyde, 7 James Botham, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Macauley Cook, 4 James Ratti, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Kirby Myhill, 1 Brad Thyer
Replacements: 16 Liam Belcher, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Keiron Assiratti, 19 Shane Lewis-Hughes, 20 Alun Lawrence, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Ben Thomas, 23 Jason Harries
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Andrea Piardi (Italy), Paul Haycock (Ireland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)
Report by @PRO14Official