Monday 14 October 2019

Improving Benetton will look to lay down a marker early on

'They welcome Leinster to Treviso where the visitors had a comfortable 3-31 victory last year thanks to second-half tries from Conor O'Brien, Andrew Porter and Joe Tomane.' (stock photo)
'They welcome Leinster to Treviso where the visitors had a comfortable 3-31 victory last year thanks to second-half tries from Conor O'Brien, Andrew Porter and Joe Tomane.' (stock photo)

Benetton's 2018/19 campaign was the best in the club's history to date, qualifying for the play-off phase before coming unstuck against Munster in Thomond Park.

There was a mere two points between the sides in that quarter-final, with the winners going on to face Leinster in the last four.

The Italians have been growing rapidly under the tutelage of Kieran Crowley and will be hoping for tomorrow's match to be the start of another leap forward.

They welcome Leinster to Treviso where the visitors had a comfortable 3-31 victory last year thanks to second-half tries from Conor O'Brien, Andrew Porter and Joe Tomane.

Despite that result, Leinster will know a greater task awaits in the north of Italy, as shown by the 27-27 draw in the RDS in April which came almost a year to the day after Benetton's 17-15 victory in the Dublin ground.

The addition of former Leinster and Munster player Ian Keatley has been a positive move from Benetton, with a large contingent of their squad also representing Italy at the World Cup in Japan.

If either of the Ians, Keatley or McKinley, can form a bond with Dewaldt Duvenage in the absence of Tito Tebaldi and Tommaso Allen, Benetton could enjoy a very positive opening few weeks to the Guinness PRO14.

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