Benetton Treviso flanker Paul Derbyshire has warned his teammates that they will need to make the Stadio di Monigo a fortress if they are to improve on last year’s RaboDirect PRO12 showing.
Treviso played the role of underdogs to great effect last season, snatching impressive away wins against Heineken Cup finalists Ulster and top-four side Glasgow.
Indeed a four-game win streak in September and October last season meant that the Italian outfit were looking at a play-off spot rather than over their shoulder towards the bottom of the table in the season’s early stages.
But a dire run of only one win from their last ten games after Christmas left them down in tenth at the end of the season.
And Derbyshire admits that their home form will have to improve if they are to start making inroads at the top end of the table.
“Our objective is to improve from last season,” said Derbyshire who scored his only try of last season in Treviso’s impressive 50-24 mauling of the Dragons in October.
“Playing at home is always a positive for us but we have to continue on from our win against Wasps in pre-season because the competition is very tough.
“Last year we lost a few games at home and this year we want to win all of our home games – it is a point for us.
“Last season the win against the Dragons at home was fantastic. Scoring fifty points was unbelievable but we are trying to get to that level every game.
“There is no precise tactic – the game plan was the same as in other games. The difference was the attitude and aggression.
“Even in the Heineken Cup against Biarritz last year we were all 100% behind winning – everyone bought into it. That was the difference and you can feel it.
“We have started well with a nice win against Wasps last week. It was good for a first game – we were quite confident, we had trained hard and were ready for battle and Wasps are a very good side.”
Head coach Franco Smith has overseen a summer of change at the club with as many as 13 new faces joining, most notably New Zealander Dean Budd and South African Doppies La Grange.
And with the squad beginning to gel in pre-season, as evidenced by their win over Wasps, Derbyshire is looking forward to seeing what Treviso can bring to the table this time around.
“The new guys are here to bring their experience from South Africa and New Zealand – they are bringing experience and strength to our team,” he added.
“They mix very well with the rest of the team and that is important. One of our strengths is, as a group, we are a really tight team.
“Doppies and Dean train hard. The crowd expects a lot from them but we are not putting pressure on them – we just let them play.”