Monday 19 August 2019

Benetton run a huge boost for Italian vision

Conor O’Shea. Photo: Sportsfile
Conor O’Shea. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

Conor O'Shea, the former Irish international now in charge of Italy, said that Benetton Rugby's qualification for tomorrow's PRO14 quarter-final against Munster is a significant boost to the sport there.

Eleven wins out from 21 games have seen the Treviso-based outfit become the first Italian side to make the knockout stages of a competition.

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New Zealander Kieran Crowley has guided them to 11 wins from 21 games and O'Shea said it's a breakthrough moment for the country.

"Antonio Pavanello and Kieran Crowley have done an incredible job, Pavo in particular in his recruitment, the way he has structured things, the environment he has created for the players. It's incredible," said O'Shea.

"They have got depth, they can rotate and they have built solidly, so to make the play-offs is a great boost," said the former Irish full-back.

O'Shea said they are now trying to do the same with Michael Bradley's Zebre and he expects them to be a force next season with a stronger squad.

"That is what we aim to have in Zebre. If you can create two stable competitive squads you have got good young players with them coming up through the ranks, it's going to be very exciting.

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