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Ex-Blitz Bok leads Benetton to Italian derby victory over Zebre

By PA
Rhyno Smith (Benetton) during the United Rugby Championship match Zebre Rugby Club vs Benetton Rugby on December 24, 2021 at the Sergio Lanfranchi stadium in Parma, Italy (Photo by Alessio Tarpini/LiveMedia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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Rhyno Smith scored 29 points including a hat-trick of tries as Benetton claimed a 39-17 victory over Italian rivals Zebre in the United Rugby Championship.

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The South African touched down in the opening moments of each half, added another try before the hour and landed four conversions and two penalties in an impressive individual display at the Monigo Stadium.

Two tries in reply from Jacopo Trulla gave bottom side Zebre hope but, with Edoardo Padovani also crossing, Benetton had too much and Mattia Bellini’s late score sealed the win.

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Smith’s first try came after just 49 seconds and Padovani followed him over to give the hosts a strong early advantage but they led only 14-11 at the break after Trulla led the Zebre response.

Benetton regained the initiative as Smith touched down from a kick in the opening minutes of the second period and he completed his hat-trick by jinking in from the left.

Trulla claimed a second after good work by Carlo Canna, who also notched seven points for the visitors, but Bellini wrapped up the win in the closing moments.

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