Benetton Players in with a Chance to Avenge Munster Loss

Paul Eddison
08 August 2019

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For a number of members of the Italy squad, Saturday’s clash with Ireland will be a first trip back to the Emerald Isle since a heart-breaking defeat in the Guinness PRO14 Final Series.

Benetton came within two points of handing Munster their first-ever home knockout defeat in the competition, only for JJ Hanrahan to sneak the home side through.

And with Italy taking on Ireland in their World Cup warm-up opener, as many as 14 players from that Benetton 23 could be in action.

As a result, it seems the perfect opportunity to look back on that game when Benetton almost crowned a breakthrough season with a sensational win.

Kieran Crowley’s side had qualified for the Final Series for the first time thanks to a stunning campaign which saw them end up third in Conference B.

That meant a trip to Thomond Park, and while it was Munster who enjoyed much of the possession in the first half, Benetton kept them at bay to stay in touch, trailing 6-0.

Then, just before the break, winger Ratuva Tavuyara showed his finishing skills with an acrobatic leap to score the game’s first try.

Tommaso Allan, skippering Benetton, converted, and it was the Italians who took a one-point lead into the sheds.

If Munster had enjoyed more of the ball in the first half, the same was not true in the second, where Benetton threw everything at their opponents.

Monty Ioane almost went in for Benetton’s second, but his final pass was put down, and the same happened when Tavuyara scythed through, Hame Faiva the culprit on the second occasion.

That would prove costly as Hanrahan cut the deficit to one point, but still Benetton kept pushing.

They got up to the Munster try-line ten minutes from time, only for Munster to turn the ball over, and the Irish side were then able to work their way up to halfway where Hanrahan knocked over his third penalty to earn a place in the semi-final.

It was a frustrating one to take for Benetton, having pushed their hosts to the very limit.

However, the likes of Allan, Federico Ruzza and potential debutant Marco Riccioni could get their revenge at Aviva Stadium this weekend.

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