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Benetton maintain unbeaten start to season with victory over Lions

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - OCTOBER 01: Malakai Fekitoa of Tonga looks on during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between South Africa and Tonga at Stade Velodrome on October 1, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Gaspafotos/MB Media/Getty Images)

Benetton maintained their unbeaten start to the BKT United Rugby Championship with a hard-fought 15-10 home victory over the Emirates Lions.


Tries from Malakai Fekitoa – the first for the former New Zealand and current Tonga international in Benetton colours – and Ignacio Mendy saw the Italians edge home at the Stadio Monigo.

Jordan Hendrikse kicked a penalty and Sanele Nohamba converted replacement prop Asenathi Ntlabakanye’s second-half try to level the scores at 10-10 in the final quarter.

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Kwagga Smith cameo

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Kwagga Smith cameo

But Jacob Umaga’s floated pass allowed Mendy to make the corner nine minutes from time, allowing Benetton to build on their opening-day win at Cardiff and draw with Munster.


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Flankly 8 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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