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Smith: we must come out the blocks firing

Guinness PRO12 Editor

21 Feb 2012

Benetton Treviso head coach Franco Smith has warned his troops that they have to improve the way they start games if they are to have any chance of ending their winless run in 2012.

Last Saturday in the RaboDirect PRO12 Treviso fell to a 35-14 defeat to defending champions Munster at the Stadio Monigo.

The majority of the damage was done inside the first quarter of the game as Danny Barnes, Simon Zebo and Johne Murphy all crossed to make it 24-0.

While Smith’s men responded with two converted tries of their own either side of half-time the damage was already done.

And Smith, whose side have now slid back to eighth, 13 points behind the RaboDirect PRO12 play-off spots, admitted Treviso must end their sluggish ways if they are to finally grab their first win of the new year.

“After looking back at the video again there is a 25 minutes blackout at the beginning of the game,” he said.

“You can’t go behind by 25 points and hope to come back against sides like that. From then on we actually ended up winning the game 14-10 and I am at least happy that we came back.

“I am also really pleased with a very young scrum that showed that they are capable at this level. With Matteo Muccignat, in particular, playing very well.

“I had a meeting with the guys who are still with us earlier in the week and with the same squad we held on well against Leinster for an hour.”

Smith has seen a number of squad players step up to the plate with the Six Nations robbing him of a number of his first choice stars.

But rather than bemoan his ill fortune the South African head coach has called on his side to continue to impress him when they travel to the Scarlets this Thursday.

“There are a few players who haven’t had that many games but have worked really hard in training and are probably a little undervalued,” he said.

“They deserve a bit more game time and we will see them get that chance.

“We will be looking for another win away from home, the Scarlets have a few players away as well but they are starting to get to know us a bit better so we’ll have to work hard.”