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Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

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Preview: Benetton v Zebre

Charlie Bennett 27 Apr 2018

There may be local pride at stake when Benetton Rugby meet Zebre on Saturday but it is also a chance for Italian rugby to celebrate a brilliant campaign in the Guinness PRO14.

The two Italian sides have already logged their best ever seasons and further records could be set at Stadio Monigo.

Zebre are chasing a third straight win for the first time in their Guinness PRO14 history, while Benetton Rugby are protecting a four-game winning streak against their compatriots.

What’s at stake?

In terms of the standings, there is little to play for in this match with both teams unable to move up or down.

Benetton, with 11 wins from 20 matches, are set to finish fifth in Conference B while Zebre will be seventh in Conference A.

However, a win for both sides would make history. Benetton could match their Guinness PRO14 record of four in a row while Zebre are chasing a record-breaking third.

With 17 victories between them, this is their best combined season and whoever grabs the 18th will end the campaign on a high.

Team news (Benetton)

Benetton Rugby have made one change to the side which so memorably beat Leinster in Dublin a fortnight ago.

Winger Tommaso Benvenuti comes in at No.14 ahead of Andrea Bronzini, and he forms a back three with full-back Jayden Hayward and Monty Ioane.

Tito Tebaldi and Tommaso Allan form the half-back pairing while centre Albert Sgarbi captains the side from No.12.

Benetton have plenty in reserve with the likes of Dean Budd, Abraham Steyn and Marty Banks among the replacements.

Team news (Zebre)

Unsurprisingly, Zebre have named the same side that beat the Ospreys last time out as they seek just their second away success of the campaign.

That means a mixture of pace and physicality in the back line, with Matteo Minozzi and Mattia Bellini joined by the towering presence of Giovanbattista Venditti.

Key battle – Simone Ferrari v Andrea Lovotti

The set-piece so often plays a decisive role in matches involving Italian teams so expect this to be no different.

With big, burly packs it is going to be physical and that places a great emphasis on opposite props Simone Ferrari and Andrea Lovotti.

The pair are teammates for Italy but rivals domestically and whoever wins between them at the scrum will set their team up for victory.

Key fact:

Benetton have lost just once at home in the Guinness PRO14 since early December: 19-22 to Connacht in Round 16.

Did you know?

This is the first match that JP Doyle will take charge of in the Guinness PRO14.

Benetton: Jayden Hayward, Tommaso Benvenuti, Tommaso Iannone, Alberto Sgarbi, Monty Ioane, Tommaso Allan, Tito Tebaldi, Federico Zani, Luca Bigi, Simone Ferrari, Marco Lazzaroni, Alessandro Zanni, Federico Ruzza, Sebastian Negri, Nasi Manu.

Replacements: Hame Faiva, Cherif Traore, Tiziano Pasquali, Marco Fuser, Dean Budd, Abraham Steyn, Luca Sperandio, Marty Banks

Zebre: Matteo Minozzi, Mattia Bellini, Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Castello, Giovanbattista Venditti, Carlo Canna, Marcello Violi, Andrea Lovotti, Oliviero Fabiani, Dario Chistolini, Leonard Krumov, George Biagi, George Biagi, Johan Meyer, David Sisi.

Replacements: Luhandre Luus, Cruze Ah-Nau, Eduardo Bello, Valerio Bernabò, Derick Minnie, Guglielmo Palazzani, Edoardo Padovani, Gabriele Di Giulio.

TV: Live on Eurosport

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Prices start at just €35 at www.ticketmaster.ie with tickets available to suit every experience.
To book hospitality visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/hospitality
For Travel packages visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/travel-packages
For Fanzone & Dublin 7s visithttp://www.dublin7sfestival.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

Zebre battle past rivals Benetton

Charlie Bennett 28 Apr 2018

Zebre Rugby won a third straight Guinness PRO14 game for the first time in their history thanks to a tight victory away at Italian rivals Benetton.

David Sisi and Carlo Canna scored the tries for the visitors as they finished the campaign with a flourish at a sunny Stadio Monigo.

It was just their third away win all season and it was made all the more sweeter as it came at Benetton, on a special day for Italian rugby.

That win was the 18th by an Italian side in the Guinness PRO14, a new record, with Zebre contributing seven of them.

Benetton had been on a three-game winning run and had not lost to their rivals in four games and it was they who got the first points on the board.

A slick move off the back of a scrum saw scrum-half Tito Tebaldi slip a pass to Tommaso Allan, who in turn found Alberto Sgarbi to dart in under the posts.

Zebre got their first try on the stroke of half time, with Sisi powering over off the back of a driving maul from a well-constructed line-out.

That gave the away side the momentum heading into the second half and they struck, with Canna going over in the corner after Zebre had sucked in Benetton’s defence.

But the hosts hit back minutes later, with Allan powering through three tackles to get the ball down after Benetton gained good position through a rolling maul.

The fly-half extended their lead to four points with a penalty but in the end it was in vein as Marcello Violi’s four penalties saw Zebre over the line.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Prices start at just €50 at www.ticketmaster.ie with tickets available to suit every experience.
To book hospitality visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/hospitality
For Travel packages visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/travel-packages
For Fanzone & Dublin 7s visithttp://www.dublin7sfestival.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