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Molto bene! Zebre end near year-long wait for a win

By Online Editors
Tommaso Boni

Zebre won for the first time in 2019 by upsetting the Dragons 39-12 at Rodney Parade in the Guinness PRO14.


The Italians took the spoils and even got a bonus point thanks to tries by wing James Elliott, full-back Edoardo Padovani, centre Tommaso Boni, wing Charlie Walker and flanker Maxime Mbanda.

It was a dominant performance by the Italians and an awful one by the Dragons, whose tries came from back row forwards Harrison Keddie and Taine Basham.

Zebre had not won in any competition since beating Enisei-STM in the European Challenge Cup last December, with one of their defeats a 52-28 hammering at the hands of the Dragons in Parma.

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They avenged that loss in style, having the edge in the first half and then stretching away early in the second.

The Italians opened the scoring in the ninth minute when, after a charge into the 22 by back row forward Mbanda, winger Elliott grounded fly-half Carlo Canna’s well-judged grubber kick over the line. Canna converted for a 7-0 lead.

It was level in the 19th minute when centre Jack Dixon barged through in midfield for the Dragons before calmly putting number eight Keddie over for a try that Arwel Robson converted.#


Canna put the visitors back in front with a well-struck penalty and then, minutes after being wide with a drop goal, repeated the trick from the tee for a 13-7 lead.

The Dragons wasted a chance to reduce the deficit when Robson pushed a penalty attempt and their mood was not helped by a wasted lineout opportunity 10 metres out from the final play of the half.

Zebre were in total command just four minutes after the restart when full-back Padovani raced over down the left from Elliott’s offload and Canna converted.

It was swiftly followed by a slick attack that ended with centre Boni crashing over for Canna to make it 27-7.

Zebre were going for the kill and got the bonus point that their performance deserved when Walker went over from Canna’s floated pass after 70 minutes.

Basham, who had been with Wales earlier in the week for the Barbarians fixture, crashed over straight from the restart when a clearance kick was charged down.

But Zebre had the last say when impressive flanker Mbanda raced clear, with replacement back Michelangelo Biondelli adding the conversion.


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