Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara takes centre stage for Round 19 player focus

tdean
09 April 2019

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Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara produced what could prove to be a watershed moment in Benetton Rugby’s Guinness PRO14 season with his last-minute try against Leinster on Saturday.

Benetton need a strong finish if they are to qualify for the Guinness PRO14 Final Series – and their chances were massively boosted when they narrowly avoided defeat to the Conference B toppers.

As the clocked ticked over into red, Benetton were trailing 27-20 at the RDS Arena and in search of one try-scoring chance to get something out of the game.

An early score from Luca Bigi had put the men from Treviso into the lead and a few penalties for either side kept the contest in the balance at half-time.

James Lowe powered over following a period of pressure from the hosts after the break before Federico Ruzza responded in kind.

Leinster’s Bryan Byrne then scored off the back of a ruck to level things up before Ciaran Frawley took advantage of a rare gap in the Benetton defence to leave them needing a converted score to save the day.

Veteran Tayuyara collected the ball on the wing after quick passing through the backs, and had very little room to work with by the time he had gained possession.

But a few jinks and shakes saw him dance past three Leinster defenders before some more ducking and weaving opened up a gap five-metres from the line – which he duly took advantage of.

Tommaso Allan then stepped up to split the posts from long range and level the scores at 27-27.

The results leaves Benetton in the final qualification spot with two games left to play but they have Edinburgh Rugby breathing down their necks, just one point behind.

The Guinness PRO14 Final is one of the most entertaining games in the rugby calendar and takes place in Glasgow’s Celtic Park on May 25. Tickets start at just £25 for adults, £1 for kids. Visit www.pro14rugby.org/finaltickets

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