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Just two points separate all four sides in Challenge Cup Pool 5 as Benetton Rugby take on Agen at Stadio Comunale di Monigo on Saturday afternoon.
- This will be just the second meeting between Benetton Rugby and Agen with the TOP 14 side claiming a 20-19 victory in Round 2 this season.
- Benetton have won eight of their 10 home games in the Challenge Cup, with only La Rochelle and Gloucester coming away with a victory in that run.
- Agen have won 17 of their 19 Challenge Cup games against Italian opposition.
- Agen and Benetton are two of just three teams to have recorded a goalkicking success rate below 70%.
- Agen’s Facundo Bosch has made eight offloads this season – no player has made more.
📍 Voici le XV d'Agen pour défier les Italiens de @BenettonRugby samedi 15h pour le cinquième match en @ERChallengeCup ! Unis derrière votre équipe pour ce nouveau défi européen ! ✊🏽🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/KVPHd5xtow
— SUA LG (@agen_rugby) January 10, 2019
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Benetton Rugby boosted their chances of reaching the knockout stages of the European Rugby Challenge Cup helped by a hat-trick of tries by scrum half Tito Tebaldi in Pool 5.
The home side began well to establish a 12-0 advantage inside the first 15 minutes through a brace of tries by Tebaldi who finished strongly on both occasions while fly-half Ian McKinley added one conversion.
But Agen kept their composure and gradually gained a foothold in the game through a penalty by scrum-half Hugo Verdu close to the half-hour.
The visitors then gave themselves a major lift two minutes from the interval when number eight Loic Hocquet found a gap in the defence and strode over for a try which Verdu converted to cut the deficit to two points at the break.
Mi-temps à Trévise. @agen_rugby est bien revenu dans ce match avec cet essai de Loic Hocquet. Gros combat dans cette rencontre mais les Agenais répondent présents dans les duels ! 💪#BRSUA #J5ERCC pic.twitter.com/XAdsFNrnd3
— SUA LG (@agen_rugby) January 12, 2019
But Benetton took a firm grip on proceedings with a three-try burst in the opening 20 minutes of the second period.
Fijian Ratuva Tavuyara finished off some good handling to cross twice and fellow winger Monty Ioane also crossed following a neat build-up.
Then with 15 minutes remaining Tebaldi completed his hat-trick to effectively settle matters.
#BENvAGE 65' [38-10] Metaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa di Tebaldi! Un calcio di Tavuyara raccolto al volo da Ioane, palla poi per Iannone che manda in meta il mediano di mischia dei Leoni pic.twitter.com/tbzrNn7WpJ
— Benetton Rugby 🦁 (@BenettonRugby) January 12, 2019
Agen kept going right to the end and their persistence was rewarded with tries by centre Sam Vaka and prop Giorgi Tetrashvili both converted by replacement Thomas Vincent.
Pool 5 has been closely contested and the final standing will be decided next Friday evening when Benetton travel to Grenoble and Agen host Harlequins.
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