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Benetton Treviso 29 - 13 Leinster Rugby

Stadio di Monigo, Treviso
Saturday 18th September 2010, 19:05 (18:05 Irish Time)
Television: Live TG4 / Dahlia TV

Matters just seem to get worse for Leinster and their new coach Joe Schmidt. Being able to claim a few scalps while away from home against those considered to be 'lesser' sides was the bread and butter of Cheika's reign. However, Leinster have now lost away to both Glasgow and new boys Treviso in what is definitely a worrying start to the season.

Despite a dream beginning on their first trip to Northern Italy in the Magners league with a try from Leinster's current in-form man, Isa Nacewa, the newcomers managed to bounce back quite impressively with a series of carries through the middle and well timed off loads which bruised the, perhaps unsuspecting, Leinster defensive line, certainly not what it was since McQuilkin left Dublin 4.

Treviso soon pulled it back through the boot's of Botes and Burton, the latter who slotted away two neat drop goals and the former who proved solid from the kicking tee, putting away 3 penalties and 2 conversions.

The same could not be said for Leinster, however. Nacewa and McFadden both missed several penalties on the night, in turn raising serious questions over Leinster's kicking game.

Despite the unsteadiness from the boot Nacewa put Leinster ahead by two points just after the break, and an excellent run from Sean O'Brien, who carried well, could have made all the difference in the game, but Reddan's pass never found Kearney who would have been home and dry, the story of their night.

Treviso instead turned up the intensity slotting home a penalty and a well worked try from Luke McLean who left both Ruddock and Kearney for dead to score, again begging questions about some of Leinster's younger squad.

Two more missed penalties from Leinster then saw a last gasp effort from McFadden only to eventually knock on and see Treviso loosely punt up field followed by a fantastic dash from Brendan Williams who dived on the ball to put the nail in Leinster's coffin in what was a monumental win against the former European champions.

Certainly there are worrying times ahead now for Schmidt's men who face a tough run in their next few games having to face Edinburgh away and then Munster at home before entering into the Heineken Cup. One can only hope that Schmidt finds the balance between injuries and internationals and starts to get the boys in blue to play at a level they're expected to.

Match Statistics
  Benetton Treviso
29 - 13
Leinster Rugby
Tries Brendan Williams
Luke McLean
  Isa Nacewa
Conversions Tobie Botes (2)
  Isa Nacewa
Penalties Tobie Botes (3)
  Isa Nacewa (2)
Drop Goals Chris Burton (2)
Teams Brendan Williams 15 Robert Kearney
Joseph Maddock 14 Isa Nacewa
Tommaso Benvenuti 13 Eoin O'Malley
Alberto Sgarbi 12 Gordon D'Arcy
Luke McLean 11 Luke Fitzgerald
Kristopher Burton 10 Ian Madigan
Tobias Botes 9 Eion Reddan

Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet 1 Cian Healy
Leonardo Ghiraldini (C) 2 John Fogarty
Lorenzo Cittadini 3 Mike Ross
Valerio Bernabo 4 Nathan Hines
Corniel Van Zyl 5 Ed O'Donoghue
Robert Barbieri 6 Rhys Ruddock
Alessandro Zanni 7 Shane Jennings (C)
Manoa Vosawai 8 Sean O'Brien

Replacements Diego Vidal 16 Richardt Strauss
Franco Sbaraglini 17 Heinke van der Merwe
Pedro Di Santo 18 Simon Shawe
Enrico Pavanello 19 Mariano Galarza
Paul Derbyshire 20 Stephen Keogh
Ezio Galon 21 Isaac Boss
Fabio Semenzato 22 Fergus McFadden
Simon Picone 23 David Kearney
Not Considered
due to Injury

Stan Wright,
Leo Cullen,
Kevin McLaughlin,
Shaun Berne,
Devin Toner,
Shane Horgan,
Jonathan Sexton
Match Officials Referee: Peter Allan (SRU)
Assistant Referees: Stefano Marrama, Domenico Sironi (both FIR)
TMO: Carlo Damasco (FIR)

by Patrick Fennelly, © 2010-09-20