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Benetton move fourth in URC after smiting Dragons

By PA
Edoardo Padovani /PA

Impressive Benetton beat the Dragons 34-14 to climb into fourth place in the United Rugby Championship.

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Giacomo Nicotera, Lorenzo Cannone, Edoardo Padovani and Mattia Bellini scored tries for the Italian side, with Tomas Albornoz adding 14 points to maintain his 100 per cent goal-kicking record this season.

Rio Dyer and Steff Hughes claimed second-half tries for Dragons, who stay 13th in the table and have not won in Treviso since 2015.

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Benetton dominated from the early moments with their scrum and maul putting Dragons under severe pressure.

Albornoz dispatched an eighth-minute penalty and Benetton’s confidence was quickly reflected by their desire to go for the corner rather than take another easy three points.

Dragons could not stop a driving line-out and hooker Nicotera crashed over, with Argentinian fly-half Albornoz converting for a 10-point lead inside 13 minutes.

Benetton extended their lead after 20 minutes with a flowing move that went from left to right as the Dragons’ defence ran out of numbers.

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Marcus Watson was held up in one corner before the ball was recycled, and Padovani’s floated pass saw Cannone stroll over. The flawless Albornoz added the extras again.

Dragons improved slightly before the break and winger Dyer hacked on spilled ball in the Benetton midfield.

Dyer was impeded as he scented a breakaway try, but the offence went unnoticed by referee Sam Grove-White and Benetton cleared the danger.

Dragons turned down the chance of three points before half-time, but the Welsh region did get on the scoreboard after 46 minutes. Jack Dixon and Max Clark combined well and Dyer squeezed over in the corner, with JJ Hanrahan converting.

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Albornoz’s second penalty extended Benetton’s lead and the hosts were fortunate to escape when Jared Rosser was pulled down close to the home line.

Benetton regathered their composure and Albornoz made an incisive dummy break before setting up Padovani to go under the posts for another converted score.

Hughes then scythed through the home defence, and Sam Davies converted to break the 500-point barrier for the Dragons.

But Benetton responded with a superb try 10 minutes from time that secured a bonus point, replacement Bellini profiting at the end of a sweeping move.

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