Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

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

Match Page 2017-18 - Current Standing WP: 134

Match Page 2017-18 - H2H WP: 136

Match Page 2017-18 - Last 3 Matches WP: 142

Match Page 2017-18 - Season so Far WP:141

Preview: Dragons v Benetton

Andrew Lawton 17 Feb 2018
Hallam Amos, Dragons

Benetton travel to Newport seeking their fifth consecutive Guinness PRO14 victory after their seventh win of the season against defending champions Scarlets last weekend.

The Dragons will also be looking to build on their last performance, having held Conference A leaders Glasgow Warriors to a draw at Rodney Parade in Round 14.

What’s at stake?

The two teams sit one place apart in the Guinness PRO14 Conference B, but eighteen points split them and only six games remain after this round of action.

Benetton’s recent run of form means they have the chance to close the gap to the play-off spots, lying just eight points off Edinburgh in fourth.

Dragons have won only twice at home so far this season and will be anxious to improve that record and slowly start working their way back up the table.

Team news (Dragons)

18-year-old winger Rio Dyer, who earned his first Wales U20s International cap last weekend, will make his Guinness PRO14 debut at Rodney Parade on Sunday.

Lewis Evans makes his comeback from injury at No.8, meaning captain Harri Keddie moves over to flanker with Aaron Wainwright joining them in the back row.

Arwel Robson also returns from injury but is not fit enough to make the starting line-up, occupying the bench for the Dragons this weekend.

Team news (Benetton)

Benetton Rugby technical staff will have to do without 12 players summoned by the Italian National team for the trip to Newport, meaning the team looks somewhat depleted compared to the start of the season.

Adding to the unavailability of Robert Barbieri, Ignacio Brex, Angelo Esposito, Alberto De Marchi, Ornel Gega, Engjel Makelara, Michael Tagicakibau and Marco Riccioni, head coach Kieran Crowley will hope his strength in depth of the squad will be a saving grace.

Talking points

Dragons head coach Bernard Jackman said: “Benetton will come over with plenty of confidence behind them having won 7 of their fourteen matches so far and having put in some excellent displays in their European Rugby Champions Cup group.
“Traditionally it was more advantageous to play the Italian and Scottish teams during the international windows but we are now seeing the increased strength in depth in both countries playing resources.

“We know that we will have to put in our strongest performance of the season to get the win.”

Key battle – James Benjamin v Alberto Sgarbi

The battle of the backrows will be intriguing on Sunday, with Benjamin making the most tackles in the Guinness PRO14 so far this season.

Dragons’ defence was essential in preventing league-leaders Glasgow from scoring a single point in the second half, with Benjamin’s tackling halting the Warriors in their tracks.

Sgarbi skippers his side and will be leading by example as he continues his conversion from centre to flanker, having played almost every minute of every game so far for his club this season.

Key stat: Monty Ioane scored a hat-trick within 50 minutes last weekend against Scarlets and made an impressive 116 metres, only Ulster’s Robert Lyttle (120) made more metres in the entire Guinness PRO14 in Round 14.

Did you know? Benetton have conceded just 38 points against the Welsh teams this season from three matches.

Dragons: Hallam Amos, Rio Dyer, Adam Warren, Jack Dixon, Jared Rosser, Zane Kirchner, Dan Babos Sam Hobbs, Liam Belcher, Lloyd Fairbrother, Joe Davies, Rynard Landman, Harri Keddie (C), Aaron Wainwright, Lewis Evans

Replacements: Ellis Shipp, Gerard Ellis, Leon Brown, Henri Williams, Lennon Greggains, Sarel Pretorius, Arwel Robson, Connor Edwards

Benetton: Ian McKinley, Luca Sperandio, Tommaso Iannone, Luca Morisi, Monty Ioane, Marty Banks, Tito Tebaldi, Matteo Zanusso, Tomas Baravalle, Tiziano Pasquali, Marco Lazzaroni, Irné Hebst, Alberto Sgarbi (C), Marco Barbini, Whetu Douglas

Replacements: Hame Faiva, Federico Zani, Cherif Traore, Marco Fuser, Francesco Minto, Giorgio Bronzini, Marco Zanon, Andrea Bronzini

Referee: Quinton Immelman (SARU, 8th competition game)

AR1: Ian Davies (WRU)

AR2: Simon Rees (WRU)

TMO: Neil Hennessey (WRU)

TV: Live on S4C 15:15

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start from just €35 for adults and €10 for children, and can be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

 

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 set club record with fifth consecutive victory

Andrew Lawton 18 Feb 2018
Liam Belcher, Dragons

Benetton set a club record of five consecutive wins with a 18-15 victory over Dragons at Rodney Parade.

Two tries in the first seven minutes from Jared Rosser and Liam Belcher were cancelled out instantly with Benetton scores from Alberto Sgarbi and Monty Ioane, then two second half penalties secured the win for the visitors.

The game was ignited in the first minute, as Rio dyer took a high ball and sliced through the Benetton defence, before Zane Kirchner put a lovely grubber through for Rosser to latch onto in the corner.

Rynard Landman almost extended the hosts’ lead but was just short of the post base with an outstretched arm and the referee brought play back for the penalty advantage.

Dragons scored from a driving maul from a line-out only seconds later, with Belcher rumbling over for his first.

Kirchner’s clearance from inside his own 22 was charged down by Sgarbi, who collected the bounce and leaped over to get one back for Benetton and Ian McKinley added the extras.

The visitor’s then got another score almost instantly to take the lead as Ioane squeezed in on the left for his fourth try in two games.

Hallam Amos was held up on the line after some great defence by the Italians, but Belcher got his second and Dragons’ third with another driving maul almost identical to the first to regain the lead.

The second half was much tighter, with Rosser coming close to breaking the deadlock, but the referee deemed the pass out to the winger as forward and the score was scratched off.

It took almost 20 minutes for the first actual points of the half, with a calmly slotted penalty from Marty Banks to level the score.

Benetton then took the lead as Banks nailed another penalty before Kirchner failed to slot one of his own to level the score just minutes later.

The Italians could have extended their lead further and came within inches on two occasions in the last four minutes.

Epalahame Faiva was first denied by the TMO, which revealed he was short of the line after a driving effort from close range.

Then again the Kiwi thought he had scored in the final minute, but the referee judged his try to have been knocked on in transition on the floor and the score remained at 15-18.

With the victory Benetton extend their lead over Dragons in Conference B to 11 points and continue the hunt for a top four finish.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start from just €35 for adults and €10 for children, and can be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

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