Benetton Treviso made the most of their chance to return to Pro14 action as they ran out 37-25 winners against the Dragons.
Last weekend’s home game against Ulster was postponed when the Treviso side were prevented from playing in Italy due to concerns over the coronavirus.
For Friday’s match in Newport, Benetton provided assurances to competition organisers that no members of their squad or travelling party had shown any COVID-19 symptoms, had knowingly been in contact with any carriers, or had recently spent time in the parts of northern Italy which have been locked down to avoid the spread of the virus.
On a Rodney Parade pitch that cut up badly, Benetton were the superior side and surged 14-0 ahead after just 14 minutes through tries from full-back Luca Sperandio, a dazzling score from a lightning move, and hooker Tomas Baravalle.
Both were converted by Ian Keatley, who was later named man of the match for a 17-point performance, before a pair of Jacob Botica penalties gave the home side a foothold.
A Keatley penalty nudged Benetton 17-6 ahead but a Rhodri Williams try, with Botica adding the extras, came just before the break and gave hope to the Dragons.
Angelo Esposito put Benetton back in charge when dotting down just a minute into the second half, with Keating converting and adding a pair of three-pointers off the tee to put the Italians firmly in control.
— Benetton Rugby (@BenettonRugby) March 6, 2020
Will Talbot-Davies trimmed the deficit, Arwel Robson this time adding the conversion, as the Dragons got back to 30-20 adrift with 10 minutes remaining.
However, Epalahame Faiva went over for Benetton to make sure of the win, with Elliot Dee’s late response for the hosts a small consolation.
The match was a rearranged fixture, having been postponed last month due to safety fears as Storm Dennis swept through Wales.
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