Benetton Rugby 40 - 24 Cardiff Blues
Fri 20 February 20:05 Stadio Monigo Att: 2,670 Ref: Gary Conway Pro12

Benetton Treviso 40 Cardiff Blues 24

Sat 21 Feb 2015 03:54 Benetton Treviso 40 Cardiff Blues 24
A disastrous start saw the Italian hosts score twice in the opening 13 minutes as Mat Luamanu and Angelo Esposito dotted down to leave Blues reeling.

Tries from Lloyd Williams and Josh Navidi, either side of a third home score from Enrico Bacchin, looked to try and spark under-par Blues into life.

However, a try bonus point try from in-form home full back Jayden Hayward – who finished with 20 points on the night - just before the break put Treviso into complete control with a commanding 27-17 lead.

It got worse for Mark Hammett’s men when replacement Henry Seniloli added a fifth almost immediately after the restart and a try from centre Adam Thomas was no more than scant consolation as Blues left empty-handed after a horror visit.

Blues now face back-to-back home fixtures with Edinburgh and Connacht as they look to respond and eradicate the memory of one of the region’s most difficult nights.

Treviso came out all guns blazing and were ahead after just five minutes as Hayward ran forward with menace and when the ball was recycled quickly and flung right at pace it was home Number Eight Luamanu who used the overlap to score in the corner.

Hayward added a penalty minutes later before Blues, who were being forced back time and time again, fell even further behind as Bacchin broke down the middle on the field and the supporting Esposito dived under the posts to a huge ovation.

Rattled Blues needed a quick-fire response and started to build when Rhys Patchell slotted a penalty after the visitors had finally worked some field position.

Back row Ellis Jenkins and Joaquin Tuculet looked to make things happen with powerful runs and Patchell used his range of kicks to try and make Treviso play from deep and apply pressure.

The pressure paid off when home scrum half Alberto Lucchese saw a flat clearing kick charged down by Williams and the visiting number nine reacted first to the loose ball as he picked up and dived over the whitewash. Patchell’s conversion cut the lead to five.

The game was opening up as both teams looked to play with ball in hand. Tuculet and Hayward led charges in breathless fashion before a deliberate knock on allowed Patchell to punt into the corner to try and punish the home side further.

Blues, though, were left frustrated by the officials as referee Gary Conway penalised them at the following scrum allowing Treviso to clear after a spell of intense away dominance.

To compound frustrations, Treviso then struck for a third time as they worked the ball down the line and Luamanu fed Bacchin who put his head down and crashed over.

After consulting with the TMO, the try was awarded and Hayward slotted the difficult conversion from out wide for a 22-10 lead and Blues, once again, had it all to do.

However, they hit back within two minutes with Patchell the architect. The fly half, moved from full back Gareth Anscombe withdrew with injury, arched a run into space and as he was closed down he flipped a pass in field to Navidi to pick up and race in.

The game was now swinging from end to end with Lucas Amorosino almost picking out late call-up Owen Jenkins while Patchell had to be brave to pounce on the ball as the final line of defence as Treviso hacked forward.

Treviso were looking dangerous with every attack and it was the irresistible Hayward who secured the bonus point with a super score as he hit the line, stepped inside tackles and tore in the right corner to spark wild home celebrations at half-time.

Blues needed to start the second half on the front foot, but instead were undone in less than 90 seconds of the restart as some slick handling and offloads in the tackle found replacement Seniloli who ran in under the posts.

Hayward added three more points, after a high tackle on halfway, before Thomas scored the eighth try of the game as a high kick fell kindly and the centre stepped away from men to score.

With half an hour still to play and trailing by 13 points, Blues still had plenty of time and showed fight as they took the game to the Italians.

Wingers Jenkins and Tuculet combined with some neat handling on the left wing and a penalty for offside gave Blues a scrum 20-metres out in a promising position. But the chance went as Tuculet’s chip in behind was fielded by the rock solid Hayward.

A quick tap penalty from scrum half Williams was next to try and catch Treviso napping, but they quickly regrouped and Isaacs was forced out of play out wide. Then Josh Turnbull stole a home lineout to ignite more away pressure until a penalty at the breakdown saw the chance lost.

Hayward rubbed salt in the wound late on with another penalty and it was Treviso who skillfully ran the clock down in the closing minutes to ensure Blues could not even claim the try bonus point on a night to forget.
04m Luamanu t 5-0
10m Hayward p 8-0
13m Esposito t Hayward c 15-0
15m Patchell p 15-3
18m L Williams t Patchell c 15-10
28m Bacchin t Hayward c 22-10
32m Navidi t Patchell c 22-17
37m Hayward t 27-17
41m Seniloli t Hayward c 34-17
48m Hayward p 37-17
49m Thomas t Patchell c 37-24
77m Hayward p 40-24
Cardiff Blues: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Owen Jenkins (Davies 70), 13 Tom Isaacs, 12 Adam Thomas, 11 Lucas Amorosino (Smith 50), 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams (Knoyle 70); 1 Taufa’ao Filise (T Davies 71), 2 Kristian Dacey (R Williams 70), 3 Adam Jones (Andrews 58), 4 Macauley Cook, 5 Filo Paulo (Normandale 74), 6 Josh Turnbull, 7 Ellis Jenkins (Vosawai 42), 8 Josh Navidi (Jenkins 58)

Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Miles Normandale, 20 Manoa Vosawai, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Garyn Smith