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Benetton confirm superiority over Italian rivals Zebre Parma with dominant win

By PA
(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Benetton confirmed their current superiority over Italian rivals Zebre Parma with a dominant 39-14 United Rugby Championship victory at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.

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Zebre had kicked off 2021 with back-to-back wins over the men from Treviso, but it was Benetton who prevailed in their final fixture of the year – the first of a derby doubleheader, with the return meeting scheduled for January 2.

Federico Ruzza, Giovanni Pettinelli and Tommaso Menoncello went over to give the Rainbow Cup champions, who beat Zebre twice in May, a 24-0 lead at the break.

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Ignacio Brex stretched the lead further and although Tommaso Boni and Giulio Bisegni scored a pair of consolation tries for Zebre in quick succession, replacement fly-half Leonardo Marin rounded off the scoring for Benetton, for whom Rhyno Smith kicked 14 points.

Zebre have not won a match in the competition since beating the Dragons at home in February, while the result is Benetton’s first win on the road since their last trip to Parma in May.

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finn 5 hours ago
Why the world needs a reverse Lions tour

I think there’s a lot of reasons this wouldn’t work, but if we’re just proposing fun things how about a “World Series” held the june/july following a world cup. The teams competing each four years would be: the current world champions The Pacific Islands The British & Irish Lions The World XV Barbarians FC to ensure all teams are fairly evenly matched, the current world champions would name their squad first; then The Pacific Islands would name next, and would be able to select any pacific qualified players not selected by the world champions, including players already “captured” by non-pacific nations who would otherwise have been eligible for selection (eg. Bundee Aki); the Lions would select next; and then The World XV and Barbarians FC would be left to fight over anyone not selected. Some people will point out that 5 teams is too many for a mid-year round robin, particularly as it would be nice to have a final as well; and they would be right! But because we’re just having fun here we’re going to innovate an entirely new format for rugby, where the round robin is played in one stadium over the course of one day, with each game lasting just 40 minutes with no half time or change of ends. The round robin decides the seedings for the knockouts, which are contested by all 5 teams in one stadium over the course of one day, according to the following schedule: Knockout Round 1: seed 5 v seed 4 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Quarter Final: winner of Round 1 v seed 3 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Semi Final: winner of Quarter Final v seed 2 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Final: winner of Semi Final v seed 1 (played as a standard 80 minute rugby match) for the round robin, teams would name a 15 man starting lineup and a 16 man bench. Substitutions during games can only be made for injuries, but any number of substitutions can be made between games. The same rules apply for the finals, except that we return to having a regular 8 man bench, and would allow substitutions as normal during the 80 minute final.

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