Seven Things We Learned From The First Seven Rounds In The URC: 5/7

Seven Things We Learned From The First Seven Rounds In The URC: 5/7

Italian improvement

Last season, Benetton Rugby finished down in eleventh, while Zebre Parma ended up rock bottom after losing all 18 matches.

It’s fair to say it’s been a very different story so far this term.

Benetton are one of only two teams - along with table-topping Leinster - to lose just one of their opening seven fixtures.

Along the way, they have recorded notable victories in Edinburgh and Cardiff, while beating the DHL Stormers, Emirates Lions and Ospreys in Treviso.

Key to their success has been their work at the breakdown, where they have won more turnovers (52) than any other team, while Federico Ruzza and Eli Snyman have been prodigious providers of lineout ball.

As for Zebre Parma, they too have been transformed.

They defeated the Hollywoodbets Sharks amid tears of joy in Parma to end a 22-match BKT URC losing run, while they have also drawn with Cardiff and picked up five losing bonus points, in no small part due to their tally of 22 tries - the seventh best in the league.

It all means they have already matched their points total - 11 - from last season and gone a long way to ditching their status as perennial whipping boys.

There was further success for the Azzurri sides in the Challenge Cup on the weekend, with Benetton beating Perpignan 29-7 and Zebre triumphing 21-14 out in Oyonnax.

Forza Italia!

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