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Treviso resurgence lights up PRO14

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PRO 14    

Unbeaten Treviso shake-up PRO14 during league's block of Six Nations fixtures

Glasgow have finished top of the charts in the four-match Six Nations block during the 2019 Six Nations. Their hammering of Zebre in Parma on Saturday left them with four wins from four and a points total of 19. 

The Warriors’ unbeaten run signals an excellent spring-time improvement under Dave Rennie and better management of their squad which remains the majority contributor to Gregor Townsend’s Scotland side. Glasgow had won just five of their 11 games in the three previous seasons at this time of the year, a 26-point haul that was inferior to the league’s most consistent outfit Leinster. 

Leo Cullen’s squad had won 10 of their previous dozen matches in the Six Nations window for a 51-point total, despite Joe Schmidt’s heavy reliance on players from his old province for the Ireland national team. They continued in a similar vein this term, winning all four matches for an 18-point harvest that was only one behind Glasgow’s 19. 

Most kudos, however, should go to Treviso due to their ongoing transformation with Kieran Crowley at the helm. That Italians had won just four of their dozen Six Nations block matches in 2016, 2017 and 2018, the club paying a price for a lack of squad depth.

However, despite still being the major supplier of players to Conor O’Shea’s Italy team, they have been tremendous in recent weeks, their unbeaten run coming within a whisker of four straight wins but for Ulster’s late equalising score to draw their match in Belfast.

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Treviso beat Edinburgh 18-10 on Saturday to handsomely add to their respective 57-7 and 25-19 wins over Dragons and Scarlets following the block-starting 17-all draw at Champions Cup quarter-finalists Ulster. 

The Italian franchise, unbeaten in the PRO14 since November, now have a fantastic opportunity of going on and qualifying for the end-of-season play-offs for the first time, as well as clinching automatic qualification for next season’s Champions Cup.

New signing Ian Keatley, who will arrive next summer via a short stint at London Irish following nearly eight years at Munster, is delighted to be going to a club that has found its feet again under Crowley, the 1987 World Cup winner with the All Blacks. 

“I was so excited when I heard (about moving to Treviso). I was keeping an eye on them and I was like, ‘wow, they are actually playing a really good brand of rugby’. 

Tommaso Allan celebrates a Benetton Treviso try (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images)

“You saw that last weekend against Dragons when they were missing 16 or 17 Italian internationals. You could even see it in the performance of Italy last weekend (against Ireland) and Conor O’Shea touched on that. 

“He said, ‘yeah we lost but we are definitely coming’. It’s exciting to go over to Italy at this time when they are progressing so well,’ said the out-half who will link up with fellow Dubliner Ian McKinley at the northern Italy club.

PRO14 SIX NATIONS WINDOW 

P W D L BP PTS
Glasgow 4 4 0 0 3 19
Leinster 4 4 0 0 2 18
Ulster 4 3 1 0 2 16 
Treviso 4 3 1 0 1 15
Munster 4 3 0 1 2 14
Cardiff 4 3 0 1 2 14
Scarlets 4 2 0 2 3 11
Cheetahs 5 2 0 3 2 10
Connacht 4 2 0 2 1 9
Edinburgh 4 1 0 3 3 7
Kings 5 1 0 4 2 6
Ospreys 4 0 0 4 2 2
Zebre 4 0 0 4 2 2
Dragons 4 0 0 4 0 0

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Unbeaten Treviso shake-up PRO14 during league's block of Six Nations fixtures