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Benetton Rugby and Grenoble both return to the Challenge Cup after a season away to face each other on Saturday (14:00 BST) in Treviso at the Stadio Cumunale di Monigo in a Pool 5 encounter streamed live by DAZN.
- Benetton and Grenoble have never met before. The Italian side has won six of eight previous games against French opposition in the Challenge Cup.
- Grenoble are unbeaten in eight games against Italian opposition (W7, 01), their seven victories coming by an average margin of 37 points.
- Grenoble have won just one of their last seven matches overall, a 31-27 win over Newcastle Falcons in 2016/17 (L6).
- Benetton have won six of their eight home games in the Challenge Cup (L2), one of their two defeats did come against TOP 14 opposition however (La Rochelle – Round 1, 2016/17).
- Benetton’s Sebastian Negri averaged 18.3 carries per 80 minutes in the Champions Cup pool stage last season, and only Toulon’s Facundo lsa averaged more (18.4).
Les Grenoblois préparent leur premier déplacement européen de la saison https://t.co/5CEvzFun9r #AllezFCG pic.twitter.com/YS0kBokjwp
— FC Grenoble Rugby (@FCGrugby) October 10, 2018
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Fly-half Tommy Allan was Benetton Rugby’s hero with 18 points as they maintained their fine start to the 2018/19 season with a 40-14 home win over Grenoble on the French club’s return to the European Rugby Challenge Cup on Saturday.
The Italian international paraded all his skills by scoring two second-half tries and kicking four conversions to enable Benetton, currently third in Conference B of the Guinness PRO14, to end Grenoble’s eight-match unbeaten record against Italian opposition.
Benetton, who had won six of their eight previous home games in the Challenge Cup, made a storming start with tries from full-back Jayden Hayward and lock Federico Ruzza, converted by Allan, to race into a 14-0 lead after 24 minutes.
#BENvGRE 51' [28-7] Ottimo momento di Tommaso Allan che immediatamente trova anche la seconda meta personale. Bene anche la trasformazione! pic.twitter.com/aNlyACwea1
— Benetton Rugby 🦁 (@BenettonRugby) October 13, 2018
However, Grenoble, who had won only one of their last seven matches overall, hit back with a try on the stroke of half-time by captain and hooker Duncan Casey, which was improved by scrum-half Theo Nanette.
Benetton regained the upper hand, though, in the 46th minute with a try by Allan which he converted and then he repeated the dose four minutes later.
Grenoble notched a consolation try 10 minutes from the end through their Tongan prop, Halani Aulika, which was also improved by Nanette, but Benetton had the last words with tries from New Zealander Hame Faiva and centre Nacho Brex, the last of which was converted by Antonio Rizzi.
The Italian club now travel to Agen in Round 2 on Friday, while Grenoble entertain three-time winners Harlequins next Saturday night.
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