Benetton Rugby have never qualified for the latter stages of a European competition, but they have shown in the early stages of the PRO14 competition that they mean business this season in the European Rugby Challenge Cup.
The Italian club, who open their Pool 5 campaign at home to Grenoble on October 13, head Conference B after following last weekend’s win at Dragons with a 27-25 home victory over Challenge Cup holders Cardiff Blues on Saturday.
Key to their success in round 2 were wing Iliesa Ratuva and full-back Jayden Hayward, who respectively topped Opta’s statistics for most offloads (3) and most assists (2) – as showcased on PRO14rugby.org.
Fly-half Tommaso Allan clinched the win with the last kick of the game – the conversion of Monty Ioane’s try – to give him 17 points in the match.
A day I won’t forget🎉So special to have Mum and Dad over to support with close family and friends❤️🙏🏼and to top it off with a Win 🦁🏉🇮🇹 #ForzaLeoni #Family #ThatWinningFeeling #BenettonRugby #Blessed #OnwardsUpwards @BenettonRugby pic.twitter.com/ZD0gfmbIKM
— Sebastian Negri (@slnegri04) September 9, 2018
There is also a Challenge Cup side at the top of Conference A, with Ospreys securing their second successive win with a bonus-point, 46-14 home victory over South African side Toyota Cheetahs.
Fly-half Sam Davies led the conversions list by improving four of the Welsh region’s seven tries, with new captain Justin Tipuric and former skipper Alan Wyn Jones both notching doubles as they get set to launch their Pool 2 season with a home game against Pau on October 13.
— Ospreys (@ospreys) September 9, 2018
In the English Premiership there were statistical table-topping performances from Worcester Warriors No.8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze and wing Bryce Heem on Sunday – as seen on Premiershiprugby.com – but they were in vain as the Warriors succumbed 21-15 at fellow Challenge Cup side Sale Sharks.
Van Velze notched the most carries in round 2 with 18, while Heem recorded the most turnovers with four, as well as scoring the Pool 2 club’s first try, but fly-half AJ MacGinty saw Pool 3 outfit Sale home with 11 points.
The Sharks start their Challenge Cup bid at Perpignan on October 12 – a day before Worcester travel to Stade Français Paris.