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Pro14: Leinster 15-17 Benetton – BBC Sport

Noel Reid of Leinster is tackled by Benetton’s Sebastien Negri
Guinness Pro14
Leinster (12) 15
Tries: Strauss, Daly Con: Carbery Pen: Carbery
Benetton (5) 17
Tries: Biggi, Ruzza, Allan Con: Allan

Benetton boosted their hopes of qualifying for a Champions Cup play-off place by beating Conference B leaders Leinster in the Pro14 in Dublin.

The Italian side trailed 12-5 at half-time but bounced back to secure a shock victory and move to within a point of Ulster, who lie fourth in the table.

Luca Bigi, Federico Ruzza and Tommaso Allan were the Benetton try-scorers.

Richardt Strauss and Barry Daly touched down for Leinster who stay five points clear at the top of Conference B.

For Benetton, it was only their second-ever triumph over Leinster, who missed out on the opportunity to secure a home semi-final in the play-offs.

Allan’s opportunistic try helped Marius Goosen’s side record their first win over their Irish opponents since the 2010-11 season, bringing a 14-match winless streak to an end.

Leinster got off to a promising start as the hosts drove forward from a lineout before hooker Strauss burst into life to dot down with less than seven minutes on the clock, Joey Carbery converting.

But Benetton hit back just four minutes later through an almost identical situation, the visitors attacking from a set-piece and driving with their own relentless maul, eventually walking over the line to allow Bigi to claim an unconverted try.

On the stroke of half-time, Leinster stole a march as Jordan Larmour took flight and fed Daly to crash over in the corner, Carbery unable to add the extras as his team took a seven-point lead into the break.

Benetton received reward for their defensive solidarity in the 50th minute as Tito Tebaldi booted the ball skyward and then Jayden Hayward pounced on the rebound before expertly offloading to Ruzza, who raced away for his team’s second try.

Allan’s attempted conversion flew wide of the mark as Benetton clawed their way back to within two points.

They were in front shortly afterwards when Allan got his foot to a misplaced Jack McGrath pass, hacked forward and then went over before adding the two points himself to shock the RDS Arena.

A Carbery penalty brought Leinster back to within two points, though, leaving the contest finely poised.

Despite the visitors having Tito Tebaldi yellow-carded midway through the half, Leinster struggled to break down Benetton, who withstood everything the men in blue threw at them.

Leinster: J Larmour; F McFadden, R O’Loughlin, N Reid, B Daly; J Carbery, J Gibson-Park; J McGrath (capt), R Strauss, A Porter; R Molony, I Nagle; J Murphy, S O’Brien, M Deegan.

Replacements: J Tracy, E Byrne, M Bent, M Kearney, P Timmins, N McCarthy, R Byrne, A Byrne.

Benetton: J Hayward; A Bronzini, T Iannone, A Sgarbi (capt), M Ioane; T Allan, T Tebaldi; F Zani, L Bigi, S Ferrari; M Lazzaroni, A Zanni; F Ruzza, S Negri, N Manu.

Replacements: E Makelara, C Traore, T Pasquali, I Herbst, M Fuser, D Budd, I McKinley, T Benvenuti.

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