Beaten Edinburgh miss out on URC play-offs

Beaten Edinburgh miss out on URC play-offs

United Rugby Championship

Benetton (12) 31

Tries: Mendy, Ratave, Albornoz, Izekor 2 Cons: Smith 3

Edinburgh (6) 6

Pens: Healy 2

Edinburgh’s United Rugby Championship play-off hopes were brought to a shuddering halt as they were blown away by Benetton in Treviso.

Sean Everitt's side knew a win would guarantee a top-eight finish but they produced arguably their worst performance of the season at the worst possible time.

Ignacio Mendy and Onisi Ratave tries either side of a brace of Ben Healy penalties gave the Italian side a 12-6 half-time lead.

The hosts kept their foot on the gas after the break with Tomas Albornoz scoring and Alessandro Izekor crossing the line twice as they eased to a bonus-point win that booked their own spot in the play-offs.

A losing bonus point for Lions against Stormers in South Africa ensured Edinburgh would finish outside the play-off spots.

The game had started promisingly for the visitors when Benetton back-row Izekor was sent to the bin within 60 seconds for illegally halting a quick tap penalty.

The numerical advantage proved nothing of the sort as the home side struck first with a brilliant try. James Lang, playing out of position at full-back owing to Edinburgh’s crippling back-three injury list, spilled a high ball that allowed Benetton to counter. Nacho Brex took possession on halfway and carved his way through the Edinburgh defence before cleverly offloading for Mendy to score.

The Scots had a let off when they were opened up again by a lovely first-phase scrum move, only for Tommaso Menoncello to knock on with the try line beckoning.

In the baking Treviso sunshine and in the face of some ferocious Benetton defence, Edinburgh were struggling to make any sort of impression in attack, though a Healy penalty did get them on the scoreboard.

The Scotland fly-half followed it up with another three-pointer soon after and despite a challenging opening half-hour, the visitors led by a point.

Edinburgh looked to be warming to the task, getting their big ball-carriers into the game, until they were sucker-punched five minutes before half-time.

Matt Currie lost the ball in contact and the ball popped up perfectly for Ratave to gather and run it in from halfway.

Benetton started the second half on the front foot and thought they had stretched their lead when Thomas Gallo burst through to ground. The try was ruled out for a double movement, a debateable call that was perhaps a little harsh on the Argentine prop.

Edinburgh’s reprieve was only temporary as a neat offload from Menoncello set Albornoz free to go in under the sticks and extend Benetton’s advantage to 13 points.

The visitors were all at sea and were robbed of possession at a calamitous lineout, with Izekor able to stretch for the line to seal the bonus point for the Italians.

There was no trace of any sort of fightback and Izekor benefited from a favourable bounce of the ball to stride home for try number six and pile the pain on the hapless Scottish side.

It capped an impressive display from the Italians, but the meek surrender from Edinburgh will prompt many questions as to where this side is going.


Benetton: Smith, Mendy, Menoncello, Brex, Ratave, Albornoz, Uren, Gallo, Nicotera, Ferrari, N Cannone, Snyman, Izekor, Lamaro, Halafihi.

Replacements: Lucchesi, Spagnolo, Zilocchi, Iachizzi, L Cannone, Garbisi, Umaga, Zanon.

Edinburgh: Lang, Henry, Currie, Dean, Van Der Merwe, Healy, Price, Schoeman, Ashman, Nel, Skinner, Gilchrist, Ritchie, Crosbie, Mata.

Replacements: Cherry, Venter, Sebastian, Sykes, Watson, Vellacott, Scott, Bennett.

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