Benetton scores late winner in disrupted round
MATCH REPORT: Flyhalf Leonardo Marin sunk Glasgow Warriors with a dramatic last-gasp penalty as Benetton claimed a 19-18 United Rugby Championship victory.
The 19-year-old struck with the game’s final kick at Stadio di Monigo to thwart Danny Wilson’s team.
Glasgow looked on course for a fourth victory of their league campaign, but they were ultimately punished by Marin after pulling down a line-out inside their own half.
Marin was Benetton’s hero in similar circumstances against Edinburgh in Round 2, kicking a stunning late drop goal to clinch the win.
Number eight Jack Dempsey and flank Rory Darge scored tries for Glasgow, while fly-half Ross Thompson kicked two penalties and a conversion.
A dogged Benetton side, though, stayed in the hunt after full-back Rhyno Smith claimed a try inside the opening minute, with flank Giovanni Pettinelli also crossing and Marin booting three penalties.
Smith ensured a scintillating start to the game by scoring an outstanding solo try after just 36 seconds when he attacked the Glasgow defence from halfway, kicked ahead and gathered a kind bounce.
It was an immediate warning to the visitors, but they responded impressively and drew level just six minutes later following good work by their forwards that ended with Dempsey crashing over from close range.
Thompson nudged Glasgow ahead through a 19th-minute penalty, yet Benetton soon regained the lead after the visitors struggled to halt some powerful ball-carrying, and Pettinelli claimed his team’s second try.
That score was followed by a Marin penalty, only for Glasgow to regroup and patiently build phases that eventually unlocked Benetton’s defence when Darge touched down and Thompson converted, securing a 15-13 interval advantage.
And Benetton, having lost momentum, exacerbated their situation within four minutes of the restart.
Italy captain Michele Lamaro was sin-binned for a technical infringement and Thompson kicked an easy penalty to give Glasgow a five-point lead as Benetton regrouped amid a temporary one-man disadvantage.
But Glasgow could not extend their lead, and Benetton set up a tense final 15 minutes when Marin kicked his second penalty that cut the gap to two points.
Marin then missed a 73rd-minute chance to edge Benetton ahead when he sent a short-range penalty attempt wide, before stepping up and making amends in dramatic fashion.
Player of the match
Benetton flank Pettinelli marshalled his team superbly after fellow back row forward Lamaro was sin-binned early in the second period.
The hosts could easily have lost permanent momentum at that point as Glasgow moved 18-13 ahead, but Pettinelli, who earlier scored a try, rose to the challenge impressively before Marin’s stoppage-time penalty secured victory.
Play of the match
Spectators at the Stadio di Monigo did not have to wait long – 36 seconds to be exact – to be thrilled by a moment of magic from Benetton’s former South Africa sevens international Rhyno Smith.
The full-back attacked Glasgow’s defence from halfway, kicking ahead before showcasing searing pace and gathering a kind bounce to touch down.
It was a score worthy of winning any game, and some 82 minutes later, his team-mate Marin duly obliged.
Tries: Smith, Pettinelli
Pens: Marin 3
For Glasgow Warriors
Tries: Dempsey, Darge
Pens: Thompson 2
Benetton: 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Ratuva Tavuyara, 13 Tommaso Menoncello, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Edoardo Padovani, 10 Leonardo Marin, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage (captain), 8 Toa Halafihi, 7 Michele Lamaro, 6 Giovanni Pettinelli, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Tiziano Pasquali, 2 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 1 Federico Zani.
Replacements: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Tomas Baravalle, 18 Ivan Nemer, 19 Niccolò Cannone, 20 Manuel Zuliani, 21 Alessandro Garbisi, 22 Joaquin Riera, 23 Luca Sperandio.
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Cole Forbes, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Sione Tuipulotu, 12 Sam Johnson (captain), 11 Rufus McLean, 10 Ross Thompson, 9 George Horne, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Matt Fagerson, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Rob Harley, 3 Oli Kebble, 2 George Turner, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Johnny Matthews, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Kiran McDonald, 20 Thomas Gordon, 21 Jamie Dobie, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Ollie Smith.
Referee: Marius can der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Federico Boraso (Italy), Filippo Russo (Italy)
TMO: Alan Falzone (Italy)