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85th-minute drop-goal from 19-year-old Benetton sub sinks Edinburgh

(Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Substitute Leonardo Marin stunned Edinburgh with an 85th-minute drop-goal as Benetton won a United Rugby Championship thriller 28-27 in Treviso. Edinburgh looked to have done enough after Ben Vellacott scored two tries that saw the visitors lead until 19-year-old Marin struck with the game’s final kick at Stadio di Monigo.


Mike Blair’s men collected two points from the contest, but the Scottish coach will be frustrated that Edinburgh could not close things out following Jaco van der Walt’s 75th-minute penalty. Prop WP Nel and hooker Stuart McInally also touched down for Edinburgh, with van der Walt kicking two conversions.

Beaten just once in their last seven games before this Edinburgh visit to northern Italy, Benetton crossed for two tries by hooker Gianmarco Lucchesi and one from wing Monty Ioane, while Tomas Albornoz booted a penalty and conversion, and Marin added a penalty, conversion and his clinching drop-goal.

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Benetton blasted out of the blocks, taking a fourth-minute lead when smart approach play saw Lucchesi burst through a huge gap and touch down unopposed. It was an immediate setback for Edinburgh, but they regrouped impressively as their forwards laid siege to Benetton’s line and Nel crashed over for an equalising touchdown that van der Walt converted.

Edinburgh built on Nel’s score after Albornoz kicked a penalty when Vellacott showcased his pace and elusiveness by darting over for a smart score. Van der Walt added the conversion, then Vellacott unlocked Benetton’s defence again just four minutes later, claiming a quickfire second touchdown as Edinburgh opened up an eleven-point lead.

Benetton, though, refused to go quietly and they cut the deficit through a clever score six minutes before half-time. Albornoz was the architect, electing to kick rather than pass inside Edinburgh’s 22, and his pinpoint accuracy meant Ioane caught the ball without breaking stride as he crossed out wide. Albornoz converted, making it 19-15 at the break as the quality of rugby matched glorious conditions. Edinburgh soon breached Benetton’s defence for a fourth occasion after a relentless driving maul ended with McInally touching down early in the second period.


Benetton’s substitute hooker Gianmarco Nicotera was sin-binned for obstruction on Edinburgh wing Darcy Graham early in the final quarter, yet the one-man disadvantage made little difference as Lucchesi collected his second try after a Marin penalty, with the teenager converting and then delivering his dramatic drop-goal.


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