Treviso spent last season proving that they can deliver victories away from home but in doing so they left the gates to the Stadio di Monigo wide open and eight RaboDirect PRO12 teams robbed them blind.
They recorded wins on the road against Glasgow Warriors, Ulster, Connacht and Newport Gwent-Dragons but lock Corniel van Zyl admits the squad were left thinking about what might have been had they done a proper job of home security.
The Stadio di Monigo was a fortress in their first season as eight teams including Munster and Leinster went home empty handed from their visits to Northern Italy.
Yet a win abroad eluded them and Franco Smith’s side duly rectified that statistic but at a cost – one which the South African-born Van Zyl insists was not worth it.
But the 33-year-old believes the Biancoverde can walk the line in their third season and marry respectable home form with success on the road.
“In the first season we had a few good home wins but we couldn’t manage to win away, last season was pretty much the opposite,” said Van Zyl.
“We got the first win outside of Italy which was a big game and a few more as well but we just didn’t get the balance right and we couldn’t get the close games.
“We have regrets from losing those close games because they made a massive difference at the end.
“I think if we can combine the two this year, winning more home games and sneaking a few away that will make the difference.
“After we have managed to do that we can starts to push for the play-offs.
“Franco is obviously very ambitious and the target is the play-offs and we are all working towards that but it won’t be the end of the world if we don’t.
“It’s something we’d like to achieve and it’s there as a goal but it’s just the beginning of the season and saying where we want to reach in the league is very difficult.”
Evidence that Treviso are striking the correct balance this season was provided in the season’s opening round as Ospreys travelled to Italy and were taught a lesson about playing rugby in gale.
The champions went down 12-6 with Kris Burton kicking four penalties as Treviso capitalised on a first-half red card to lock Ian Evans.
But Van Zyl doesn’t see the absence of his opposite man for 50 minutes as a reason to mark the result as an anomaly – citing it as their most impressive victory to date.
“We had a few big wins in the first season against Munster andLeinster but we had never beaten Ospreys,” he added.
“You always need to start the season well so in terms of that I would say this win was worth more than those wins against the Irish sides.
“We had a good pre-season and won two games but you always think ‘we will perform in the competition as well?’
“Playing against 14 is a big advantage especially when they lose a second row so that must have set them back.
“But we had two yellow cards (for Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet and Dean Budd) so we didn’t have that much of an advantage because in the end it was only 30 minutes where we were 15 on 14.”