Edinburgh Rugby fail to capitalise on Benetton's early red card as miserable run in Treviso goes on

Edinburgh’s long wait for a win in Treviso goes on.

Nick Haining set up Edinburgh's second try with an impressive break.  (Photo by Luca Sighinolfi/INPHO/Shutterstock)
Nick Haining set up Edinburgh's second try with an impressive break. (Photo by Luca Sighinolfi/INPHO/Shutterstock)

Despite Benetton having winger Matteo Minozzi sent off ten minutes into his debut, Mike Blair’s side couldn’t overcome determined hosts who dominated the breakdown, enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and territory and were worthy 24-17 winners.

Edinburgh beat the same opponents 53-8 at home last month but Benetton on their own patch are a different proposition and you have to go back to October 2017 for Edinburgh’s last win in Treviso.

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Benetton outscored their visitors four tries to two on this occasion, with Marcus Watson and Sebastian Negri crossing in the first half and Lorenzo Cannone and Rhyno Smith doing the same in the second. Edinburgh responded with two second-half scores from Henry Immelman, and Charlie Savala added another seven points with the boot, but the Scots were always chasing the game and hopes of a fourth successive win in the United Rugby Championship were dashed. As well as Minozzi's red, Benetton had two players yellow-carded - Edinburgh’s Wes Goosen was also sin-binned - but they held firm.

Edinburgh started well enough. After winning the ball from their own kick-off they set up an attacking platform and won a penalty which Savala slotted over. They then saw their opponents reduced to 14 men when Goosen got a faceful of Minozzi’s studs. The former Wasps man was trying to catch a high ball when his boot came up and caught the Edinburgh winger in the face. Craig Evans, the Welsh referee, deemed it “highly dangerous” and Minozzi was shown the red card.

It left the home side a man short for around 70 minutes but you wouldn’t have known it.

As Goosen went off to be patched up, the Italian team gradually took control. Edinburgh were under the cosh, conceding penalty upon penalty. Benetton opted for the scrum as they sought the game’s first try and it paid off. Tomas Albornoz spun out a perfect looping pass to Watson who squeezed over on the right touchline.

Edinburgh were continuing to concede multiple penalties and Evans decided enough was enough. A patched up Goosen stopped Albornoz with what looked like a legitimate tackle but the referee spotted an offside and showed the Edinburgh winger the yellow card.

It was now 14 v 14 and Negri ran in Benetton's second try just before half-time, flopping over on the right wing after scrum-half Dewaldt Duvenage found him with a floated pass. Albornoz was off target with the conversion for a second time but the Treviso side went in at the break 10-3 ahead.

The scoreline barely reflected Benetton’s dominance and Edinburgh took full advantage by getting back on terms soon after the restart. In a rare foray into their opponents’ 22, Henry Pyrgos fed Savala who delayed his pass to create the opportunity for Immelman to score. Savala converted.

Any notion of an Edinburgh revival was quickly quashed as Lorenzo Cannone forced his way over from close range and Albornoz converted to restore Benetton’s seven-point advantage.

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The Italians then found themselves reduced to 13 men as Federico Ruzza took one for the team with Edinburgh pushing hard on the Benetton line. The visitors needed to make their two-man advantage count and they eventually got a try after the great break from Nick Haining created space for Immelman to run through on the short side. Savala converted from the right touchline to make it 17-17 going into the final quarter but it was Benetton who stole the initiative with a lovely piece of invention from Duvenage. His chip through was latched onto by Smith who nabbed the try under the posts which replacement stand-off Jacob Umaga converted.

Smith then blotted his copybook by catching Ben Vellacott in the head with a swinging arm and was sent to the sin-bin. Edinburgh played the last few minutes against 13 men but couldn’t find a way through.

Scorers: Benetton: Tries: Watson, Negri, L Cannone, Smith. Cons: Albornoz, Umaga.

Edinburgh: Tries: Immelman 2. Cons: Savala 2. Pen: Savala.

Red card: Minozzi (Benetton). Yellow cards: Ruzza, Smith (both Benetton); Goosen (Edinburgh).

Benetton: R Smith; M Watson (T Menoncello 58), I Brex, M Zanon, M Minozzi; T Albornoz (J Umaga 52), D Duvenage (A Garbisi 78); N Tetaz (I Nemer 50), G Lucchesi (G Nicotera 50), S Ferrari (T Pasquali 40-58; N Tetaz 71), N Cannone (S Scrafton 50; G Lucchesi 63-71), F Ruzza, S Negri (N Cannone 62), M Zuliani (G Pettinelli 61), L Cannone.

Edinburgh: H Immelman; D Hoyland, M Currie (C Dean 64), J Lang, W Goosen; C Savala, H Pyrgos (B Vellacott 55), B Venter (J Jack 78), S McInally (P Harrison 71), A Williams (L-R Atalifo 55), M Sykes, J Hodgson (G Young 74), N Haining, L Crosbie, B Muncaster (C Boyle 58).

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Replacement not used: J van der Walt.

Referee: Craig Evans (WRU).

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