Myler boots Ospreys to late win
URC MATCH REPORT: The Ospreys survived a stunning Benetton fightback to emerge with a 29-26 victory in Treviso.
Having initially failed to build on a dominant start and fallen 7-26 behind, Benetton produced second-half tries from Rhyno Smith, Monty Ioane and Tommaso Menoncello to pull level.
However, the Ospreys, whose challenge was hampered by the loss of Luke Morgan and debutant Alex Cuthbert to the sin-bin, snatched victory late on thanks to a Stephen Myler penalty.
The visitors had looked almost out of sight after Max Nagy and Ethan Roots touched down before half-time and Rhys Webb crossed twice after the break. Benetton, who had taken an early lead through Gianmarco Lucchesi, battled admirably but fell just short of a famous comeback victory.
Lucchesi’s fourth try of the season was just reward for a bright Benetton start, the hooker burrowing over from close range. Tomas Albornoz added the conversion and a bad start got worse for the Ospreys when Morgan was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on.
Toby Booth’s men survived their numerical disadvantage without sustaining any further damage and having weathered the early storm, they got their first try after 32 minutes when Nagy twisted for the line.
Their second followed soon after. A clever reverse pass from Webb put Roots in the clear to run for the line, with Myler adding the extras having missed his earlier effort. Owen Watkin sent Webb through for the Ospreys’ third try two minutes into the second half, and the scrumhalf added his second five minutes later when he muscled over next to the posts for the bonus point.
Myler converted both for Ospreys but Benetton, who these days have Paul Gustard as a senior coach, were back in the game when Smith ran on to his own chip to touch down and Andries Coetzee made it 26-14 from the tee. Having earlier been denied a try by some heroic defending from Cuthbert, Ioane eventually got his score thanks to a fine weaving run, and the visitors lost Cuthbert to the sin-bin for a high tackle soon after.
Menoncello then touched down in the right corner and Coetzee converted to level the scores, but Myler, having missed one opportunity to edge the Ospreys back in front, clinched the win for the relieved Welsh region four minutes from time.
Tries: Lucchesi, Smith, Ioane, Menoncello
Cons: Albornoz, Coetzee 2
Tries: Nagy, Roots, Webb 2
Cons: Myler 3
Benetton: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Tommaso Menoncello, 13 Marco Zanon, 12 Joaquin Riera, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Tomas Albornoz, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Riccardo Favretto, 7 Michele Lamaro (captain), 6 Giovanni Pettinelli, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolò Cannone, 3 Tiziano Pasquali, 2 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 1 Nahuel Tetaz.
Replacements: 16 Giacomo Nicotera, 17 Cherif Traoré, 18 Ivan Nemer, 19 Irné Herbst, 20 Sebastian Negri, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Rhyno Smith, 23 Thomas Benvenuti.
Ospreys: 15 Max Nagy, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Keiran Williams, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Rhys Webb (captain), 8 Ethan Roots, 7 Sam Cross, 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Elvis Taione, 1 Rhodri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Ifan Phillips, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Rhys Davies, 20 Morgan Morris, 21 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 22 Joe Hawkins, 23 Mat Protheroe.
Referee: Aimee Barret–Theron (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Filippo Russo (Italy), Alex Frasson (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Penne (Italy)
Sources: PA & RugbyPass