Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

Match Page 2017-18 - Last Time WP ID: 133

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Preview: Benetton Rugby v Ospreys

Charlie Peat 21 Sep 2017

Benetton Rugby entertain four-time league winners Ospreys as the Italians look for their second win of the Guinness PRO14 season at 7.35pm on Friday evening.

What’s at stake?
Ospreys will be aiming to bounce back from two successive defeats when they travel to Italy on Friday evening. The Welsh side’s only victory so far this season came against Italian opposition in the form of Zebre, when they prevailed 22-13 at the Liberty Stadium.
Benetton, meanwhile, are basking in the glory of an away victory in Edinburgh and won this very fixture last season, 13-5, at the Monigo Stadium.

Team news (Benetton): The Italian side have made four changes from their victory over Edinburgh as they are without the injured Tommaso Allan, Enjel Makelara and Marco Riccioni but can recall Marty Banks, Robert Barbieri and Ignacio Brex to the matchday squad.

Team news (Ospreys): Rhys Webb returns to the Ospreys starting line-up for the first time this season following his summer exploits with the British & Irish Lions.

Dan Biggar also makes his first start for the Welsh outfit having come off the bench in their defeat to Munster last weekend.

Alun Wyn Jones is back in the matchday squad for the first time in the Guinness PRO14 as Steve Tandy makes seven changes form the 21-16 loss to last season’s beaten finalists.

Talking points:

All eyes will be on Ospreys returning Lions as Webb, Biggar and Jones look to help ignite Ospreys’ stuttering start to the campaign. The influential pairing of Webb and Biggar will need to hit the ground running in Italy.

In contrast Benetton will be filled with confidence following their stirring comeback against Edinburgh, their first away win in the league after 41 consecutive defeats.

Key Battle:

Angelo Esposito helped ignite a stunning turnaround against Edinburgh last week which two tries either side of half time to clinch the game.

One of the league’s highest carriers after three rounds, 29 in total, Esposito could be crucial for Kieran Crowley’s side.

Keelan Giles lines up on the wing for Ospreys and was instrumental in their only victory this season, dotting down twice against Zebre.

No Ospreys player has made more breaks than the 19-year-old this season and could help exact revenge for last season’s defeat in Italy.

Key Stat:

No player has made more tackles in the Guinness PRO14 than Welsh player of the year Justin Tipuric, 43.

Did you know?

Benetton are looking for back-to-back league victories for the first time since February 2016, when they beat Cardiff Blues and the Dragons.

Benetton: J Hayward; A Esposito, T Benvenuti, A Sgarbi, L Sperandio; I McKinley, E Gori; A De Marchi, L Bigi, S Ferrari; F Ruzza, M Fuser, F Minto, A Steyn, D Budd,

Replacements: F Zani, C Traore, T Pasquali, R Barbieri, M Barbini, T Tebaldi, M Banks, I Brex

Ospreys: D Evans; K Giles, B John, J Hook, J Hassler; D Biggar, R Webb; N Smith, S Baldwin, M Fia; B Davies, A Beard; O Cracknell, J Tipuric, D Baker

Replacements: S Otten, G Thomas, R Jones, A Jones, J King, T Habberfield, S Davies, K Fonotia

TV: BBC Two Wales (KO 7.35pm)

Match officials – Referee: George Clancy (IRFU), AR1: Joy Neville (IRFU) AR2: Claudio Blessano (FIR) TMO: Kevin Beggs (IRFU)

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and be booked via

Historical Lineup Pre Opta (sfms data) - Preview - v2

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Benetton Rugby back up Edinburgh win with victory over Ospreys

Becky Grey 22 Sep 2017

A sublime break from Luca Sperandio helped Francesco Minto over the line to seal a 16-6 victory for Benetton Rugby over Ospreys.

It is the first time the home side have claimed back-to-back wins since February 2016, after defeating Edinburgh in an impressive away showing last week.

The Italians achieved the feat in fine fashion, holding off Ospreys’ repeated advances with a solid defence, though the visitors were accurate from the tee with three points for Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.

Steve Tandy’s men welcomed British & Irish Lions Biggar, Rhys Webb and Alun Wyn Jones back into the matchday 23, but it was not enough to down the valiant Benetton side.

Benetton stunned the home crowds with a try after just one minute of play thanks to a superb step from Sperandio, with the winger finding Minto to claim the first five points of the game.

Minutes later, Dan Biggar was offered an easy three points when the Benetton scrum was penalised under the posts.

But Ian McKinley did not waste his chance to extend the Italians’ lead as he squeezed a challenging long-range kick over the posts shortly after.

On his first start of the season since returning from Lions duty, Biggar was forced to leave the pitch injured early in the first half, making way for Davies to take the field.

It looked as if Minto would cross the whitewash once more as the Italian side repeatedly barrelled towards the Ospreys defence, but Benetton eventually settled for another penalty.

Ospreys gathered momentum towards the end of the second half as they looked to bounce back from two successive PRO14 defeats, but the Treviso team’s defence was impenetrable.

It was Keelan Giles who broke the deadlock, showing his agility as he broke through to take his side up to the 22, where Ospreys were awarded a penalty which Davies duly converted.

Young wingers Sperandio and Giles found themselves in a one-on-one when McKinley sent a cross-field kick as the half-time whistle approached and the Welshman did well to deal with the threat.

After the break, Justin Tipuric showed the talent which had caught Warren Gatland’s eye during Lions selection when he grabbed an interception in the 54th minute, but the ball was eventually spilled forward.

When Dan Evans broke through the wall of green again, it seemed a try was certain and Ospreys made it across the line, but the ball was held up.

The four-time league winners racked up 19 phases as they battled to score a try before the final whistle until Benetton won the turnover.

The hosts swiftly flipped the Ospreys’ attack, with a fleet-footed Angelo Esposito making it within metres of the whitewash.

Benetton had to settle for just one try on this occasion, but replacement Martin Banks added three more points for good measure.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and be booked via

Match Page 2017-18 - Summary WP:137

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Performance WP:138