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Benetton continue to set the pace in the Rainbow Cup

(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Benetton enhanced their status as the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup’s unlikely pace-setters with a 34-27 victory over Zebre in Treviso.


Having not won a single game during the regular PRO14 season, Benetton are now the only team who can boast a 100 per cent winning record following Munster’s defeat to Connacht on Friday.

This bonus-point win, which came courtesy of tries from Toa Halafihi, Monty Ioane, Gianmarco Lucchesi and Edoardo Padovani, sends Kieran Crowley’s men four points clear at the top of the table, with the eventual victors set to meet their South African counterparts in a north-versus-south final on June 19.

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Hanging on to top spot may be a tough ask for Benetton, who host Connacht next before travelling to face the Ospreys in their final fixture, but their back-to-back victories over Zebre and a shock opening win against Glasgow Warriors have given them a platform they could only have dreamed of at the start of the tournament.

Winless Zebre made it a tense finish by reducing the lead from 18 points to four with a pair of late tries from Michelangelo Biondelli and Marcello Violi, but Paolo Garbisi wrapped up the win from the tee. Giovanni D’Onofrio scored Zebre’s other try.


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mitch 1 hours ago
The Wallabies team Joe Schmidt must pick to win back Bledisloe Cup

Rodda will be a walk up starter at lock. Frost if you analyse his dominance has little impact and he’s a long way from being physical enough, especially when you compare to Rodda and the work he does. He was quite poor at the World Cup in his lack of physicality. Between Rodda and Skelton we would have locks who can dominate the breakdown and in contact. Frost is maybe next but Schmidt might go for a more physical lock who does their core work better like Ryan or LSL. Swain is no chance unless there’s a load of injuries. Pollard hasn’t got the scrum ability yet to be considered. Nasser dominated him when they went toe to toe and really showed him up. Picking Skelton effects who can play 6 and 8. Ideally Valetini would play 6 as that’s his best position and Wilson at 8 but that’s not ideal for lineout success. Cale isn’t physical enough yet in contact and defence but is the best backrow lineout jumper followed by Wright, Hanigan and Swinton so unfortunately Valetini probably will start at 8 with Wright or Hanigan at 6. Wilson on the bench, he’s got too much quality not to be in the squad. Paisami is leading the way at 12 but Hamish Stewart is playing extremely well also and his ball carrying has improved significantly. Beale is also another option based on the weekend. Beale is class but he’s also the best communicator of any Australian backline player and that can’t be underestimated, he’ll be in the mix.

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FEATURE Charlie Cale may be the answer to Joe Schmidt's back-row prayers Charlie Cale may be the answer to Joe Schmidt's back-row prayers