Benetton Rugby Treviso banished the demons of last week’s heavy defeat to Ospreys to secure their first victory of the Guinness PRO12 campaign with a 27-11 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons.
Treviso led the game from start to finish, with Tommaso Benvenuti’s score leading the way in a 10-8 half-time advantage, while Filo Paulo and Marco Fuser compounded Dragons to a third defeat of the Guinness PRO12 season at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo.
The Dragons fought back at the close of the first half, with lock Rynard Landman crossing but it wasn’t enough to stop the Italians securing a second successive victory over Newport on home territory.
It was the Dragons who began the game on the front foot, but a missed Angus O’Brien penalty spurred the hosts into life, rewarded for an incessant period of pressure when Tommaso Allan kicked the first three points on the match.
And Treviso were not done there, piling scrum after scrum onto Kingsley Jones’ side, strain which eventually told when Benvenuti crashed over. Allan added the extras for a ten-point advantage.
In need of an immediate response, the Dragons got their wish when O’Brien and full-back Carl Meyer broke from deep, and with the defence not quite able to find their shape, Landman was on hand to halve the deficit to 10-5 with ten minutes until the break.
From there the half belonged to the visitors, with resolute defence on the Treviso five-metre line the sole barrier to scrum-half Charlie Davies picking up his side’s second score of the half.
It seemed as though Kieran Crowley’s side would reach the break without further damage, but an impressive leap from Cory Hill saw a defensive line-out stolen, doing enough to earn a penalty which O’Brien kicked for his first points of the evening.
Despite their rearguard action at the close of the first 40 minutes, it was Treviso who came out of the blocks firing, further adding to their tally from their very first chance of the half.
The ball was worked out to the brink of the right touchline, with Paulo the man to cross, a score added to by Allan’s conversion from the narrowest of angles to put the Italians more than a score ahead once again.
That advantage prompted the game into a scrappy affair, much to the benefit of Treviso, with the Dragons looking threatening only to fumble at the crucial moment to hand possession back to their opponents.
And despite the Newport pressure, the hosts’ lead extended further as Allan made no mistake from right in front of the posts, pushing the difference to 12 points as the game headed to the final quarter.
O’Brien’s second penalty of the night kept Jones’ side in contention, but desperate defensive intervention was needed just to keep them in the game, first through Matthew Screech before a team effort provided a sigh of relief with a penalty to clear from danger to keep the score at 20-11.
But that only seemed to prolong the inevitable for the Dragons as Treviso ran in a third try on the cusp of the full-time whistle through Fuser, with neither side able to pick up a bonus point from the contest.
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