Benetton Rugby 69 - 21 Cardiff Rugby
HT 31-7
Fri 20 May 18:00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo Ref: Eoghan Cross United Rugby Championship

Benetton Rugby 69 Cardiff 21

Fri 20 May 2022 19:49 Benetton Rugby 69 Cardiff 21

Cardiff crashed to a disappointing 69-21 defeat to Benetton Rugby as a hugely frustrating and disrupted United Rugby Championship season came to an end in Italy.

The Blue and Blacks went into the encounter on the back of victories over Zebre Parma and the Dragons but they blown away by Benetton.

Marco Bortolami’s men raced into a 21-0 lead thanks to three tries in the space of seven minutes thanks to Lorenzon Cannone, Tomas Albornoz and Michele Lamaro. 

Callum Braley wrapped up the bonus-point shorty after the 30 minute mark and despite a Rhys Carré brace and a Max Llewellyn try, the Italians dominated, running Cardiff ragged with six further tries in a ruthless second half display.

Cardiff showed plenty of early intent but the opening exchanges were scrappy at a sun-kissed Stadio di Monigo.

It was Benetton that had the first opportunity when a clever set move, at pace from the line out put Edoardo Padovani slicing through. Cardiff scrambled well to tackle the wing short and at the next phase they knocked on with Cam Winnett clearing to the half-way line. 

It was a brief reprieve for Cardiff with the Italians kicking frequently to keep Dai Young’s men pinned in their own half and they soon got the opening try.

After earning a scrum penalty, they kicked to the corner and following a couple of pick and drives, Lorenzo Cannone crashed over. Rhyno Smith converted and it was only a matter of minutes until he was back at the tee.

Ignaco Brex created the opening and he found fellow Argentine Tomas Albornoz slicing through. Smith converted and matters were made worse when Benetton claimed another quick-fire try. 

This time it was flanker Michele Lamaro, who burst through the Cardiff defence and again Smith converted to make it 21-0 inside 20 minutes with the three tries coming in the space of seven minutes.

Smith kept the scoreboard ticking with a penalty and the red hot hosts continued to cause problems as they controlled territory and played with real pace and ferocity. 

Loosehead prop Thomas Gallo powered out of a tackle and went powering through and following two superb offloads at of contact Callum Braley was under the sticks.

That secured the bonus-point and Smith made it 31-0 before Cardiff finally responded through Rhys Carré on 35 minutes. Priestland converted to make it 31-7

Carré added a second from close range five minutes after the restart following a quick-tap that saw Ellis Jenkins stopped inches short.

Priestland added the extras to bring Cardiff within 17-points of the hosts and give themselves faint hopes of a comeback. 

However those hopes were quickly extinguished as Benetton claimed a fifth try with Tomas Albornoz finishing. 

They soon added a sixth before Cardiff hit back with a well worked Max Llewellyn try with the centre burning through a tackle after combining with Ben Thomas.

Priestand converted and with 20 minutes remaining it was 43-21 to the hosts but they twisted the knife in the final quarter.

They added four more scores to leave the Blue and Blacks battered and bruised on a night to forget.