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 Scarlets

Charlie Talbot-Smith 9 Feb 2018
Jonathan Evans, Scarlets, Benetton Rugby, Preview

Benetton Rugby and Scarlets know each other pretty well at this stage – Sunday’s meeting in the Guinness PRO14 will be their fourth this season already.

The Scarlets – top of conference B – head to Treviso to take on the in-form Italian outfit who are hoping to trim the gap to the play-off spots.

What’s at stake? The Scarlets have won all three of the previous meetings this season – in fact they have won their last 11 games in total against the Italians.

But Benetton have won their last three matches in the Guinness PRO14 and another would equal their best ever-run in the league.

Both sides will be without a number of their internationals during the Six Nations but regardless of personnel, Benetton have been tough to beat at home this season – they have won their last two, both with maximum points.

Team news (Benetton Rugby): Crowley is missing 14 players on international duty with Italy.

But they have called up a number of players from the Veneto – including Mogliano’s Marco Zanon and Petrarca’s Simone Rossi who both make the bench.

There is experience with Tito Tebaldi and Marty Banks as the half-backs while Alberto Sgarbi – an international centre with Italy – lines up at blindside flanker.

Team news (Scarlets): Centre and former Wales Under 20s captain Steff Hughes will captain while hooker Ryan Elias and flanker James Davies return from Wales camp.

Full-back Johnny McNicholl returns to action after suffering a shoulder injury in the Boxing Day derby against the Ospreys.

South African David Bulbring makes his 50th appearance in the second row and is partnered with Lewis Rawlins. Davies links up with Tadhg Beirne and Will Boyde in the back row.

Talking points

The main talking point will obviously focus on the international absentees.

And, speaking ahead of the clash, Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac said: “It’s been a little more challenging than it has been in previous years with the success of the side and the selections, not only in the national team but the under-20s aswell.

“It’s a challenging time for all clubs. We’ve got a pretty good feel about the group. Even the coaches have jumped in at training to make up the numbers.

“Preparation has gone well this week and the boys are looking forward after a couple of weeks off.

“We’re really proud of the players who have been selected in the national teams and now the guys that remain with us have an opportunity to carry on from where we left off in the PRO14.”

Key battle – Alberto Sgarbi v Tadhg Beirne

Alberto Sgarbi has won 29 caps for Italy, and all but two of them came in midfield.

Those other two were on the wing, so it is a big change this weekend when he wears No.6.

He could not have a tougher opponent than Tadhg Beirne, the Scarlets talisman who has been training with the Ireland squad this week.

The Irishman – equally comfortable in the second and back rows – was key to their title-winning campaign last year and is keen to sign off on a high before signing for Munster next season.

Sgarbi’s conversion to a forward will undergo a serious examination this weekend and it could prove vital in the final count.

Key stat The Scarlets have not lost to an Italian opponent since Benetton visited Parc y Scarlets in the Guinness PRO14 in May 2013.

Did you know? Scarlets only defeat in the last ten rounds of the PRO14 was 21-28 at Toyota Cheetahs in early December.

Benetton: Luca Sperandio, Andrea Bronzini, Tommaso Iannone, Luca Morisi, Monty Ioane, Marty Banks, Tito Tebaldi, Alberto De Marchi, Tomas Baravalle, Matteo Zanusso, Marco Lazzaroni, Irné Hebst, Alberto Sgarbi ©, Marco Barbini, Whetu Douglas
Replacements: Hame Faiva, Cherif Traore, Marco Riccioni, Marco Fuser, Francesco Minto, Giorgio Bronzini, Marco Zanon, Simone Rossi

Scarlets: Johnny Mcnicholl, Tom Prydie, Paul Asquith, Steff Hughes ©, Ioan Nicholas, Dan Jones, Jonathan Evans, Dylan Evans, Ryan Elias, Werner Kruger, Lewis Rawlins, David Bulbring, Tadhg Beirne, James Davies, Will Boyde
Replacements: Taylor Davies, Rhys Fawcett, Simon Gardiner, Steve Cummins, Josh Macleod, Declan Smith, Corey Baldwin, Tom Williams

Referee: George Clancy (IRFU, 97th competition game)

Assistant Referees: Mark Patton (IRFU), Gianluca Gnecchi (FIR)

Citing Commissioner: Roberto Carra (FIR)

TMO: Leo Colgan (IRFU)

TV: Stadio Monigo, Treviso, 2.05pm, live on Eurosport and Sky Sports

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 can 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

Ioane hat-trick inspires Benetton to victory over Scarlets

Andrew Lawton 11 Feb 2018
Monty Ioane, Benetton

Monty Ioane scored a sensational hat-trick as Benetton Rugby earned a bonus point 22-12 over reigning Guinness PRO14 champions Scarlets.

Marco Zanon got the Italians fourth try as Benetton equalled their best ever-run in the league with their fourth straight success.

The Scarlets, who saw Corey Baldwin and Tadhg Beirne get consolation scores, lost to an Italian opponent for the first time since Benetton visited Parc y Scarlets in May 2013.

The West Walians thought they had the first score of the match after just eight minutes when Paul Asquith intercepted a quickly tapped penalty and run beneath the posts.

But the referee, in consultation with the TMO, agreed the Scarlets were not ten metres back at the penalty and the score wouldn’t stand.

And Ioane capitalised when Marty Banks’ Crossfield kick wasn’t collected by Johnny McNicholl and the winger touched down the loose ball to move 5-0 ahead.

The second try was a near duplicate as Banks once again spotted the space out wide and put boot to ball with Ioane taking the ball on the run and diving over the tryline.

The winger sealed his hat-trick on 50 minutes with a fine finish after Luca Morisi made a half-break from Benetton’s first phase ball and the Italians led 17-0.

A grubber kick from McNicholl then sent Wales Under-20 international Baldwin clear and the replacement finished well to get Scarlets on the scoreboard.

The Italians sealed the bonus point score as Morisi broke before finding Tommaso Iannone in support who shipped the ball wide to Zanon to dive over in the corner.

Scarlets had the final say as they went in search of a losing bonus point with Asquith spotting a gap before Beirne went over but it proved to be too little too late for the champions.

Failure to pick up any points leaves Scarlets second, level on points with Leinster, in Conference B.

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 can 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