South Africa

Lions confident of first win this URC season, but not underestimating Benetton

Lions Benetton 1

“Losing the first game on tour by one point wasn’t ideal, but I think the spirit in the camp with the guys has been very good.”

The Lions are preparing for a tough clash against Benetton in Italy on Sunday as they try and get their United Rugby Championship (IRC) campaign up and running.

The Lions head into the game off two losses, so will be desperate to get a win under their belts, while Benetton are unbeaten so far this season after beating Cardiff 23-22 away and then drawing 13-all with URC champs Munster at home last weekend.

The Lions will however take confidence from the fact that they are yet to lose against Benetton in the URC, after they beat them 37-29 at Ellis Park in their first campaign last year, and in their second season earlier this year beat them 32-28 in Italy back in March.

‘Tough side’

Despite that good record, Lions assistant coach Jaque Fourie stressed that they were not underestimating them and were ready for a tough game.

“We are not going to underestimate them. They brought in some good players in the off season, like Malakai Fekitoa at centre. They have a good, solid pack of forwards and their 10 (Jacob) Umaga is a guy that keeps you in the right areas of the field,” explained Fourie.

“So I don’t think any side will come to Treviso and underestimate Benetton. They are a tough side and we are going to have to work really hard to beat them here. Hopefully this weekend we can put our hand up, get stuck into them and walk away with a win.

“It’s not going to be easy, we all know it and it’s going to take 80 minutes of hard work for us to walk away with a win.”


The Lions have started their third season in the URC with two desperately tight losses, going down 35-33 to the Stormers at Ellis Park in their opener, and then being edged 17-16 by Edinburgh in Scotland last weekend, so they will be hoping to turn that around against Benetton.

“The emphasis was to start well at home, which unfortunately didn’t happen and that then puts a little bit of pressure on you on tour,” said Fourie.

“Losing the first game on tour by one point wasn’t ideal, but I think the spirit in the camp with the guys has been very good. We can see the guys are bonding well together and that is priceless, the time you spend together on tour.

“When you are on tour you can spend more time on the field and more time in the team room working on things that you need to for the weekend. That time that you spend together as a team is invaluable and so good for us.”