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Benetton maintain perfect Rainbow Cup record after fresh red for Papali'i

By PA
(Photo by Getty Images)

Benetton maintained their flawless tournament record with a 20-12 victory over 14-man Connacht in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup.

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Unbeaten in the tournament going into the game, Benetton extended their winning run with an impressive physical performance against Connacht, who finished with 14 men after Abraham Papali’i’s 73rd-minute red card.

Benetton’s dominance of the scrum limited Connacht’s chances throughout the game, especially in the second half, with the visitors unable to add to the scoreline after their 42nd-minute try.

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Paolo Garbisi, who made six kicks from six two weeks ago, also had a good game despite a slightly less impressive record with five successful penalty kicks.

Despite Connacht scoring two tries to Benetton’s one, it was not to be for the Irish side, with some resolute defending denying them just metres from the line just before the half-time break.

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Flankly 2 hours ago
Resilient Irish will test Springboks despite provincial setbacks

The Bok kryptonite is complacency. How did they lose to Japan in 2015, or to Italy in 2016? There are plenty of less dramatic examples. They often boil down to the Boks dialing back their focus and intensity, presuming they can win with less than 100% commitment. This can be true of most teams, but there is a reason that the Boks are prone to it. It boils down to the Bok game plan being predicated on intensity. The game plan works because of the relentless and suffocating pressure that they apply. They don’t allow the opponent to control the game, and they pounce on any mistake. It works fantastically, but it is extremely demanding on the Bok players to pull it off. And the problem is that it stops working if you execute at anything less than full throttle. Complacency kills the Boks because it can lead to them playing at 97% and getting embarrassed. So the Bulls/Leinster result is dangerous. It’s exactly what is needed to introduce that hint of over-confidence. Rassie needs to remind the team of the RWC pool game, and of the fact that Ireland have won 8 of the 12 games between the teams in the last 20 years. And of course the Leinster result also means that Ireland have a point to prove. Comments like “a club team beating a test team” will be pasted on the changing room walls. They will be out to prove that the result of the RWC game truly reflects the pecking order between the teams. The Boks can win these games, but, as always, they need to avoid the kryptonite.

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