Benetton Treviso ended their GUINNESS PRO12 winless streak with a hard-fought first victory of the season against Italian rivals Zebre.
Treviso ran out at the for the first leg of the Italian derby at the Stadio XXV Aprile without a single win in any competition this season, racking up more than 160 minutes of rugby without scoring.
But tries from Henry Seniloli in the first half and Francesco Minto after 73 minutes as well as 16 points from the boot of Jayden Hayward secured the visitors their maiden victory of the campaign.
It was the home side who dominated early on and got off to a near perfect start when winger Giovanbattista Venditti crossed over and Kelly Haimona added the extras to put the hosts 5-0 ahead after four minutes.
Hayward kept the visitors nipping at Zebre’s heels with a penalty in the ninth minute, only for Haimona to extend the hosts lead by a further three points on the ten-minute mark.
The pair shared a further penalty apiece before Treviso scrum-half Seniloli dived over in on 29 minutes for a try, and Hayward’s conversion squared up the score.
Haimona’s missed penalty three minutes later prevented the hosts from restoring their lead and on the stroke of half-time Hayward capitalised on the miss, bisecting the posts with a confident three-pointer to put the visitors ahead going into the half-time break.
The lead was short lived as a Haimona penalty five minutes after the restart levelled the scores once again. However, Zebre were reduced to 14 men after Dries van Schalkwyk was shown yellow ten minutes into the second half, and Hayward’s resulting penalty put the visitors 19-16 up.
Just as Treviso were looking to get on the front foot and capitalise on their one-man advantage winger Simone Ragusi was sent to the sin bin on 56 minutes which evened up the numbers.
Neither side were able to make their short-lived advantage count, and the scores remained unchanged despite a missed penalty from Haimona on 69 minutes.
Treviso try scorer Seniloli was replaced by James Ambrosini on 69 minutes and shortly flanker Francesco Minto crossed the whitewash for the visitors’ second try of the day. Hayward’s conversion stretched their lead to ten points, with Zebre unable to find a way back into the game despite a late push.