Italian side Benetton cruised to a comforable 31-3 win over South African side the Southern Kings on Saturday in Italy.
The win sees Treviso secure their third win of the season, while basement dwellers of Pool B, the Kings suffered their fifth defeat in five matches.
The South African side cant just seemed to found their feet in the Pro14 tournament and had to settle for a 3-14 deficit at the break.
Angelo Esposito scored the only try of an attritional first half in Treviso, with Marty Banks kicking three penalties to Pieter-Steyn de Wet’s one to see the hosts into a 14-3 advantage – Kings lock Bobby de Wee spending ten minutes in the sin-bin.
And that was a lead they never looked like relinquishing, as Marco Barbini went over just six minutes into the second half, before Esposito grabbed his second of the night and Cherif Traore grabbed a bonus-point score with the final play of the game.
It took ten minutes for Banks to land his first penalty from just left of the posts, after de Wee was penalised for a high tackle.
The Kiwi No.10 then made it 9-0 with two more place kicks on 22 and 25 minutes, with Benetton turning the screws and making their pressure pay with points.
De Wee’s late hit on Banks then proved very costly as he was yellow carded by referee Sean Gallagher, and the Lions kicked into the corner.
A well-worked rolling-maul led to another penalty deep in Kings territory and, after earning penalty advantage yet again from the scrum, Banks’ perfectly-weighted cross-field kick found Esposito in acres of space on the right flank to score – with the visitors committing men on the other side of the pitch.
Banks’ conversion attempt from out wide hit the post however, and the Kings did get themselves on the scoresheet before the break with Dean Budd offside as he charged down de Wet’s drop-goal attempt.
The visitors’ No.10 knocked over the routine penalty to make it 14-3, but they found themselves on the back foot again straight away in the second half as Barbini gave Benetton a commanding advantage.
The Kings’ discipline deep in their own territory let them down again as they conceded another penalty and the No.8 picked the ball off the back of the scrum and sold Alshaun Bock a dummy to dot down.
Despite the visitors enjoying their best spell of the match around the hour mark as they knocked on the Italians’ door, building the phases with patient play on the hosts’ five-metre line, determined defence kept them at bay and a late salvo saw Benetton snatch a bonus point.
Esposito got around the outside of Bock brilliantly and held off two tackles to get the ball down in the right corner, and Traore sniped over as the clock ticked into the red for the hosts fourth to send the Italian fans into raptures.
Tries: Esposito 2, Barbini, Traore
Pens: Banks 3
Pen: De Wet
Yellow Card: De Wee (Kings, 27)
Benetton Rugby: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Ignacio Brex, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Luca Sperandio, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Marco Barbini 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Dean Budd (captain), 4 Marco Lazzaroni, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Federico Zani
Replacements: 16 Tomas Baravalle, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Robert Barbieri, 21 Edoardo Gori, 22 Ian McKinley, 23 Tommaso Benvenuti
Kings: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Sibusiso Sithole, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Alshaun Bock, 10 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Dries van Schalkwyk, 7 Jurie van Vuuren, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Martin Dreyer, 2 Michael Willemse (captain), 1 Schalk Ferreira
Replacements: 16 Tango Balekile, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Entienne Swanepoel, 19 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20 Khaya Majola, 21 Rudi van Rooyen, 22 Oliver Zono, 23 Berton Klaasen
Referee: Seán Gallagher (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Rhys Thomas (Wales), Jonathan Hardy (Wales)
TMO: Sean Brickell (Wales)