Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

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

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Preview: Leinster v Benetton

Avatar Paul Eddison 5 Apr 2019

Benetton travel to Leinster looking for a second successive win in Dublin to keep their Guinness PRO14 Final Series challenge on track.

The clash, on Saturday at 7.45pm at the RDS Arena, is a Conference B encounter between two of the form teams in 2019.

What’s at stake?

Both Leinster and Benetton suffered their first league defeats of the calendar year in the last round, and will be out to put that right.

For Leinster top spot and a home semi-final is already assured, however they will still want to finish the season strong.

Benetton, meanwhile, find themselves in a four-way battle for two spots. They are currently third in Conference B, four points behind Ulster, three clear of Edinburgh and five clear of the Scarlets, with the latter pair facing off this weekend.

Team news (Leinster)

Leinster took a heavy toll in their European victory over Ulster, with Dan Leavy ruled out for the remainder of the season, while Josh van der Flier is also out following surgery on his groin.

Leo Cullen has chosen to name a much-changed side to the team that edged past Ulster, with Luke McGrath captaining.

Scott Fardy keeps his place in the pack, but the back row is overhauled with Josh Murphy, Max Deegan and Caelan Doris all starting and bidding for a bigger role in the coming weeks in the absence of Leavy and Van der Flier.

Team news (Benetton)

Benetton have made eight changes to the side that was beaten in Connacht last time out, including the returns of Italy internationals Jayden Hayward, Marco Zanon, Luca Morisi and Tommaso Allan in the backline, with the latter captaining the side. In the pack Luca Bigi, Federico Ruzza, Sebastian Negri and Braam Steyn also come in.

Talking points

Benetton captain Tommaso Allan said: “We had a week off so the focus has been on Leinster and a game we won last year. The boys are very confident and want to do well in Dublin.

“It was a great evening last year, hopefully we can do it again this season. We’ve got three important games coming up. It will be an intense month but we’re happy to be in this position.

Key battle – James Lowe v Monty Ioane

James Lowe returns to the Leinster side and will be one of the main attacking threats for the reigning Guinness PRO14 champions. However Benetton have possibly the most dangerous winger in the league in Monty Ioane. No one has made more offloads than Ioane, while he ranks third for defenders beaten and fifth for clean breaks. If Benetton are to win, he will probably have to outshine Lowe.

Did you know? Leinster have lost only once in Dublin since 2017, against Benetton the last time the two teams met.

Key stat – Benetton have not yet beaten an Irish team this season, although they did draw away to Ulster in January.

Leinster: Barry Daly, Fergus McFadden, Conor O’Brien, Joe Tomane, James Lowe, Noel Reid, Luke McGrath (c), Jack McGrath, James Tracy, Andrew Porter, Mick Kearney, Scott Fardy, Josh Murphy, Max Deegan, Caelan Doris

Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Peter Dooley, Michael Bent, Jack Dunne, Scott Penny, Hugh O’Sullivan, Ciaran Frawley, Jimmy O’Brien

Benetton Rugby: Jayden Hayward, Ratuva Tavuyara, Marco Zanon, Luca Morisi, Monty Ioane, Tommaso Allan (c), Dewaldt Duvenage, Nicola Quaglio, Luca Bigi, Marco Riccioni, Irné Herbst, Federico Ruzza, Sebastian Negri, Abraham Steyn, Toa Halafihi

Replacements: Tomas Baravalle, Derrick Appiah, Simone Ferrari, Marco Lazzaroni, Giovanni Pettinelli, Tito Tebaldi, Antonio Rizzi, Alberto Sgarbi

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)

AR1: Ben Whitehouse (WRU) AR2: Gwyn Morris (WRU)

TMO: Olly Hodges (IRFU)

TV: eir Sport 1, DAZN and TG4

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

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

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Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

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Tavuyara rescues last-gasp draw for Benetton

Avatar Guinness PRO14 Rugby Editor 6 Apr 2019

Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara drove over at the death as his Benetton side drew 27-27 with Leinster to boost their Guinness PRO14 Final Series hopes.

A powerful try from Luca Bigi ended the early stalemate before a couple of penalties at either end kept the game competitive going into half-time.

James Lowe powered over following a period of pressure from the hosts after the break before Federico Ruzza dotted down.

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 – but Tavuyara was on hand to rescue two points for the Italian side.

The high-flying Conference B teams were evenly matched in the opening ten minutes as both struggled to take definitive control of the game.

It was hooker Bigi who broke the deadlock as he replicated his score against the same opposition last year.

A deep lineout was followed by the hooker driving over after the ball was carried forward in the ensuing maul.

Bigi’s try appeared to open up the game as Leinster hit back instantly thanks to an assured penalty from Noel Reid, before Tommaso Allen restored the seven-point lead with one of his own.

Luke McGrath could count himself unlucky not to dot down for the hosts after a clever dink from Joe Tomane just eluded the scrum-half as he broke clear.

Leinster kept the points ticking over thanks to Frawley’s penalty and resisted a powerful Benetton side with some robust defending within their own five-metre line – the visitors had to settle for another penalty.

Lowe fired up the home crowd shortly after the break as he powered over the line from close range to level up the scores.

Shortly after, Benetton reaped the rewards of their hard running with a deserved try from Ruzza after plentiful phases wore down a tired defence.

But like they have done all season, the Irish outfit roared back into contention as Byrne crossed off the back of a maul.

Frawley then capped off a wonderful performance off the bench to speed over the line as he appeared to rescue an unlikely win for Leinster.

But Tavuyara’s score was no more than Benetton deserved as the winger took advantage of some brilliant offloading to dot down his fourth try of the campaign.

That got Benetton back to within two points, and Allan held his nerve with the conversion to earn the draw.

As a result, the Italians stay in third place with two games remaining in Conference B. With Ulster and Edinburgh, their two main rivals for a Final Series place, playing next weekend, Benetton know that two wins from their final two games will likely get them in.

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

Match Page 2017-18 - Summary WP:137

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