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Benetton hold off bumbling Stormers

MATCH REPORT: The Stormers suffered their second defeat in a row on tour when they went down 17-20 to Benetton in the United Rugby Championship Round Four match in Treviso.

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It was a frustrating day for the Capetonians who were plagued by bad decision-making and a lack of patience on attack.

They managed to outscore their opponents by three tries to two. However, Jean-Luc du Plessis could only convert one of those tries.

Benetton scored a try in each half and a wonderful 45-metre drop-goal by Rhyno Smith just before half-time proved to be the difference between the two teams.

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The home side had plenty of the possession in the early stages of the game, but they just could not find a way through a tough Stormers defence.

The Italians eventually opened the scoring in the 24-minute when Marco Zanon chased down the ball after a grubber by Tomas Albornoz to score a try. Stormers fullback Warrick Gelant will also be kicking himself that he didn’t do enough to stop Zanon from scoring.

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Alborno added the extra two points with the conversion.

However, the Stormers hit back a few minutes later when Benetton failed to deal with a kick from Jean-Luc du Plessis with Gelant on hand to snatch up the loose ball and score a try. Du Plessis could not find the direction with his conversion.

A late tackle by Courtnall Skosan in the 33rd minute allowed Albornoz to give Benetton a five-point lead with the penalty.

The Stormers managed to level the scores in the 37th minute when Scarra Ntubeni found his way to the tryline from a powerful driving maul. Once again, Du Plessis missed the conversion.

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However, Benetton had the final say in the first half with Smith producing a magnificent drop-goal from about 45 metres out to give his team a three-point lead at the break.

The Stormers were the first to score in the second half when the ball was spread wide inside the Benetton 22 to Skosan who had the easy task of dotting the ball down. This time Du Plessis had his kicking boots on and he added the extras with the conversion

Benetton eventually started to get more of the ball in the second half and after a brilliant demonstration of passing and patience on attack, Alessandro Izekor was put into space to score his team’s second try.

Jacob Umaga made it a three-point lead with his conversion.

The Stormers had a few attacking line-outs inside Benetton’s half, but replacement hooker Joseph Dweba could not find his jumpers.

The Italians managed to keep the Stormers camped inside their own half in the final stages and hold on for a famous win.

Man of the match: Rhyno Smith looked lethal on attack and his drop-goal just before half-time was a thing of beauty. However, the award goes to Benetton flyhalf Tomas Albornoz who controlled the game nicely for his side and he had a hand in one of his team’s two tries.

The scorers:

For Benetton:
Tries: Zanon, Izekor
Cons: Albornoz, Umaga
Pen: Albornoz
DG: Smith

For Stormers:
Tries: Gelant, Ntubeni, Skosan
Con: Du Plessis

Teams:

Benetton: 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Ignacio Mendy, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Marco Zanon, 11 Paolo Odogwu, 10 Tomas Albornoz, 9 Alessandro Garbisi, 8 Lorenzo Cannone, 7 Michele Lamaro (captain), 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolò Cannone, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 1 Ivan Nemer.
Replacements: 16 Bautista Bernasconi, 17 Mirco Spagnolo, 18 Giosué Zilocchi, 19 Eli Snyman, 20 Alessandro Izekor, 21 Toa Halafihi, 22 Andy Uren, 23 Jacob Umaga.

Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Ben Loader, 12 Ruhan Nel, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 6 Marcel Theunissen, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Neethling Fouche (captain), 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 19 Gary Porter, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Keke Morabe, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Clayton Blommetjies.

Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)
Assistant referees: Federico Vedovelli (Italy) and Alex Frasson (Italy)
TMO: Sean Brickell (Wales)

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