In the opening match against the Glasgow Warriors, the Lions made little or no mistakes
In the 12-year history of Benetton in the various iterations of the URC (Celtic League, Pro12, Pro14) there has never been such a convincing start in terms of results: 22 points behind the first opponent faced are a new record for the Leoni by Marco Bortolami.
In the debut of the 2022/2023 season practically everything went smoothly for the Treviso team, which led in scoring throughout the match, except in the first 13 ‘in which the 0-0 was in force and in the 6’ in which the score was at 3-3.
It was a very good race individually and collectively: the orderly scrum played the charge, the drive from lineout it was positive, Giacomo Da Re offered a convincing performance in his fourth game as a starter in green-and-white.
Read also: The match report
Since the head coach of the national team Kieran Crowley said in a press conference that in his opinion the former Mogliano e Rovigo is the third best Italian number 10 behind Paolo Garbisi and Tommaso Allan, the statement has often been questioned. On Friday night, however, Da Re gave a blow to the lack of confidence in him with a very convincing performance and a great personality at the head of the team.
Even what was perhaps his only mistake, a pass fired directly into the lineout on the right-hand side, came from a correct reading of the situation in front of him and the execution, although daring, was not evil: it lacked the mutual understanding with Edoardo Padovani, who had remained deeper in a situation where there was a race to the height.
If the premium of man of the match went to Federico Ruzza for his good work in all aspects of the game (a pity that his masterpiece was chiseled in one on one from the forward in the goal area by Gianamrco Lucchesi), among the best it is worth mentioning Manuel Zuliani, who seems to have picked up where he left off. A player who sums up aggression, physical, individual technique like few others, even if his characteristics often lead him to wear out quickly, as happened in yesterday’s match.
Good debut by Scott Scrafton, who has been noticed on a couple of occasions for his irrepressible physicality. The Benetton absolutely needs all its pounds and muscle power. The other rookie of the day, Ignacio Mendy, did not start in the best way due to a couple of trivial mistakes in the first half, but he was largely forgiven with a brace in the second half, showing all the qualities of him.
Read also: URC: two rookies in Leinster challenging the Zebras
A praise also for Giacomo Nicotera. The hooker entered a delicate moment of the match, where the Lions had lost some edge and Glasgow was trying to play from every position on the pitch in a desperate attempt to get the game back on its feet. In this context, he has scored four tackles, one tougher than the other, often even in situations of mismatch, and after one he also managed to get back on his feet and contend for the ball, forcing his opponents to be held exactly in the middle of the field. The importance of the gesture at that time was rightly celebrated by fans and teammates, so much so as to induce the not always extrovert from Trieste to celebrate by raising his arms in a sort of imitation of Massimo Decimo Meridio of “Are you not entertained?“.
Without detracting from the previous flattery towards Benetton, the Glasgow Warriors arrived in Monigo and appeared to be a decidedly tarnished team: few ideas but confused, athletically on the legs, mentally not very centered.
On the other hand, Franco Smith became coach of the franchise only at the beginning of August, very late. It’s unclear why the Warriors took so long to choose a new head coach after Danny Wilson was sacked, but the delay certainly didn’t help bring a team with a very interesting squad, potentially for the playoffs. ready for the appointment with the first championship.
This is to say that Benetton’s mistakes, albeit few, could soon be punished differently by more ready opponents, such as Leinster to be faced by return of post. In particular, the reception and exit after the opponents’ goal kicks must be adjusted: when scoring points, it is frustrating to always give the opponents the opportunity to reply immediately.
A convincing win, however, was what it took for Benetton to get off to a good start and build the confidence they need for a season start which, if things continue to go well, could see them in the top spots in early October. .
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