Cardiff Rugby 22 - 23 Benetton Rugby
HT 19-10
Sat 21 October 17:15 Cardiff Arms Park Ref: Frank Murphy United Rugby Championship

Cardiff 22 - 23 Benetton

Mon 21 Aug 2023 19:00 Cardiff 22 - 23 Benetton

A last minute penalty from Jacob Umage handed Benetton Rugby victory in the opening round of the BKT United Rugby Championship. 

First-half tries from Liam Belcher, Rhys Carré and Ellis Bevan put the Blue and Blacks in a commanding position in Matt Sherratt’s first competitive encounter as head coach. 

But Benetton battled back in the second-half utilising an effective kicking game to bring them within two points. 

That set-up a tense finale but Cardiff club on for a valuable win in front of 5,326 at Cardiff Arms Park

It was a scrappy start at Cardiff Arms Park with the Blue and Blacks enjoying the majority of possession but met by a ferocious Benetton defence. 

The Italians opened the scoring on 11 minutes when Jacob Umaga slotted a long-range penalty but it was Cardiff that claimed the opening try.

Cardiff’s pack was edging affairs at the set-piece but under pressure from Benetton, the home sides were showing signs of rust typical of a opening encounter. 

Halaholo was looking lively in midfield but it was still not clicking with the Blue and Blacks with Cam Winnett’s long pass evading an unmarked Lane in the right corner. 

However, Cardiff remained camped in the Benetton 22 and after kicking a penalty to the corner they rumbled over with Belcher claiming the opening try of 2023-24. De Beer converted from the touch line and continued to display his arsenal with the boot as the home side led 3-7.

It was also De Beer who used his 5ft 9ins to pluck an overthrown line out from the sky under pressure to lay the foundations for a second try. 

Cardiff kept it tight and attacked around the fringes before Carré powered over from close range with De Beer adding the extras. 

And as the scoreboard passed the half hour mark Matt Sherratt’s men claimed a decisive try. Will Halaholo, making his 99th first team appearances after penning a new short-term contract snatched loose ball on the Benetton 22 and managed to offload out of contact to Lane.

Lane then offloaded back inside to De Beer, who managed to free his hands to put Bevan away for his first try in the URC.  De Beer was unable to add the extras as he ran out of time on the shot clock with Frank Murphy blowing his whistle just as the South African was striking the ball. 

The try put the Blue and Blacks in a commanding position ahead of half-time but Benetton hit back through Gianmarco Lucchesi with Umaga making it 19-10 

De Beer had the opportunity to stretch his side’s lead with the final kick-off the half but he was off target. 

Cardiff lost Lane and Alex Mann, to a temporary HIA, early in the second-half and to make matters worse Umaga cut Cardiff’s lead to six on 48 minutes.

Benetton almost struck with a fine counter-attack try on 50 minutes with De Beer and Winnett saving the day in the corner. 

Umaga could have made it 19-16 but he hit the right post on 55 minutes and Cardiff soon began to find their groove once more. 

And where Umaga was off-target, De Beer made no mistake as he brought the scores to 22-13 after he was on the receiving end of a high tackle. 

Next up, it was Cardiff who came close on the counter with De Beer sending a kick into space off turnover ball. Cabango displayed his remarkable pace to win the race to the ball, sliding in ahead of the full-back but he was unable to hang on. 

However, moments later Benetton delivered a sucker-punch to bring them within two points. Tomas Albornoz soared above De Beer to claim a high ball and he raced clear with Umaga converting 

With two minutes remaining a high shot from Ciaran Parker resulted in a red card with Umaga slotting over the penalty to give the away side a 22-23 victory.