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Last minute try secures fifth victory for Benetton

MATCH REPORT: Substitute Giacomo Da Re scored a late try as Benetton fought back for an 18-13 United Rugby Championship victory over Ospreys at Stadio di Monigo on Saturday night.

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Da Re’s 77th-minute score secured a fifth league win of the season for Benetton to defeat a resilient Ospreys side without several Wales internationals, including Jac Morgan, George North, Dewi Lake and Adam Beard.

The visitors led 13-7 with 15 minutes remaining after tries from fullback Max Nagy and scrumhalf Luke Davies, while Dan Edwards kicked a penalty.

But hooker Bautista Bernasconi’s early touchdown – converted by Jacob Umaga – meant Benetton remained in the hunt before their impressive finale.

Edwards kicked the Ospreys into a 13th-minute lead, yet Benetton responded just four minutes later by scoring a try from their first sustained attack.

Wing Paolo Odogwu ran into the heart of Ospreys’ defence and Benetton’s forwards then took charge as Bernasconi crashed over from close range for a try that Umaga converted.

Both teams were keen to put pace on the ball and Ospreys went close to claiming an outstanding try after flank Harri Deaves and captain Morgan Morris linked impressively, but a final pass eluded wing Luke Morgan.

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Benetton fullback Rhyno Smith then almost unlocked Ospreys’ defence before being tackled into touch and – together with Odogwu – he posed a major threat in wide attacking areas.

Ospreys showed plenty of defensive resilience, though, and they ended the first-half just 7-3 adrift.

The Welsh side needed just two minutes of the second period to move in front as Benetton had no answer to the power and pace of Nagy.

He received the ball just inside Benetton’s half, brushed aside an attempted tackle by Umaga, then sprinted to the corner and eluded Smith’s challenge for an outstanding solo score.

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Nagy, though, then appeared to suffer a serious ankle injury when he caught possession behind his own line and was carried off.

But the Ospreys dug deep after that setback and they extended their lead with 20 minutes left after a powerful line-out drive saw Deaves work space well to send Davies over in the corner.

Owen Williams missed a second-successive conversion attempt, meaning Benetton faced a six-point deficit entering the final quarter that Umaga quickly halved when he kicked a short-range penalty.

He repeated the feat five minutes later, tying things up at 13-13, before Da Re produced the final scoring act and Ospreys were sunk.

Man of the Match: It was a relatively low-scoring encounter in northern Italy, but Ospreys fullback Nagy produced a moment of brilliance with a breath-taking solo try early in the second-half. Collecting the ball just inside Benetton’s half, he showcased power and strength, brushing off a couple of attempted tackles before sprinting clear and touching down in the corner. In a cruel twist of fate, though, he suffered what appeared to be a serious ankle injury shortly afterwards.

Scorers:

For Benetton:
Tries: Bernasconi, Da Re
Cons: Umaga
Pens: Umaga 2

For Ospreys:
Tries: Nagy, Davies
Pens: Edwards

Benetton: 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Paolo Odogwu, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Marco Zanon, 11 Edoardo Padovani, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Andy Uren, 8 Toa Halafihi, 7 Michele Lamaro (captain), 6 Alessandro Izekor, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Edoardo Iachizzi, 3 Giosué Zilocchi, 2 Bautista Bernasconi, 1 Thomas Gallo.
Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Mirco Spagnolo, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Riccardo Favretto, 20 Manuel Zuliani, 21 Lorenzo Cannone, 22 Dewaldt Duvenage, 23 Giacomo Da Re.

Ospreys: 15 Max Nagy, 14 Iestyn Hopkins, 13 Luke Scully, 12 Keiran Williams, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Dan Edwards, 9 Luke Davies, 8 Morgan Morris (captain), 7 Harri Deaves, 6 Tristan Davies, 5 James Fender, 4 Rhys Davies, 3 Rhys Henry, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Garyn Phillips, 18 Ben Warren, 19 Lewis Jones, 20 Morgan Morse, 21 Rewan Kruger, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Harri Houston.

Referee: Chris Busby (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Filippo Russo (Italy), Giona Righeti (Italy)
TMO: Joy Neville (Ireland)

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