Benetton vs Connacht

No one would have guessed that after three rounds of the Pro 14 Rainbow Cup that Benetton would be top of the log. This is indeed a surprise but we must take into account two of these wins were against fellow Italian strugglers Zebre. The shortened nature of the tournament means every match is vital with bonus points an added advantage for teams. Connacht is in great form as well with two great away wins against Ulster and Munster respectively. Their wins were built on great defence and excellent work from their strong bench. The man that has dictated play for the Connacht team is number 9 Kieran Marmion who was sensational against Munster with a try and all round great scrumhalf play. The Benetton team is ably directed by Italian flyhalf Paolo Garbisi who along with experienced Dewaldt Duvenage really control the game with accurate kicking and choosing the right moments to run. The forwards battle is going to be immensely physical with Connacht number 8 Abraham Papali’I in rampaging form while Benetton have Sebastian Negri who always seem to make those hard yards when carrying. The Benetton team uses the driving maul to great effect and it’s fair to say this is their main attacking weapon, so Connacht will go a long way to winning this match if they can counter the maul threat. The Italian team has scored many tries so far and it’s thanks to Garbisi who has great natural attacking instincts and is able to release backline runners like Jayden Hayward and Monty Ioane who can be devastating with the right supply of ball.

TIP:  Matches between these sides are always tight and I expect the same pattern in this match. The Italian team has shown a remarkable turnaround after going winless in the Pro14 they now have won three matches on the trot. I think Connacht may have the edge on the replacements bench but will need to work hard at the breakdown as the Italians are masters at disrupting opposition ball. The visitors can boast stars like Jack Carty and Caolin Blade coming off the bench and this is the reason I predict a very tight victory for the Irish team. The bookies have Connacht as slight favourites and the best odds on the Connacht victory are as follows: Worldsportsbetting 1.62, Playabets 1.62 and Sunbet 1.50

HEAD TO HEAD STATS

Benetton vs Connacht

  • The last five meetings between the sides have seen Connacht victorious.
  • In Benetton’s last five home games against Connacht they have only won once.
  • Benetton’s last home victory against Connacht was in 2016.

Latest results for both teams

Benetton won their last match against Zebre 34-27 while Connacht won their last match against Munster 24-20.

PREDICTION

There wouldn’t have been too many people that would have thought Benetton would be topping the log after three rounds especially after losing all their games in the Pro14 league. The format of this tournament and an easy draw has seen this unexpectedly happen. This Connacht team is a great counter attacking team and the Italians must be careful about turning over ball as this could seriously hurt them. This will be Benetton first true test and if they overcome Connacht they will be in pole position to win Pro14 Rainbow Cup. The quality and class of the Connacht team will shine through especially if newly selected Lion Bundee Aki plays. He was the match winner the last time these two sides met. I expect a titanic battle upfront but expect the Irish team to win a close encounter by at least 4 points.

  • Probable Starting XVs

Benetton

15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Edoardo Padovani, 13 Ignacio Brex, 12 Marco Zanon, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage (captain), 8 Toa Halafihi, 7 Michele Lamaro, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolò Cannone, 3 Filippo Alongi, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Thomas Gallo.

Connacht

15 John Porch, 14 Sammy Arnold, 13 Sean O’Brien, 12 Tom Daly (captain), 11 Alex Wootton, 10 Conor Fitzgerald, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Abraham Papali’i, 7 Conor Oliver, 6 Cian Prendergast, 5 Ultan Dillane, 4 Niall Murray, 3 Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 2 Shane Delahunt, 1 Paddy McAllister.

Odds for this bet

The best odds on the Connacht victory are as follows:

Worldsportsbetting 1.62

Playabets 1.62

Sunbet 1.50

Odds comparison on a Connacht handicap victory:

The complete odds on the Connacht handicap victory:

Worldsportsbetting (-3.5) 1.90

Sunbet (-3.5) 1.81

Playabets (-3.5) 1.91

Predictions and Odds in details

This match should be entertaining as both these teams come will be super confident after winning their previous matches. The duel between the halfbacks will decide the match and while the starting halfbacks look pretty evenly matched, Connacht have super sub pairing of Carty and Blade that they can call on. The Italians love a slug fest while the Irish team play an exciting open game that interlinks forwards and backs. One of the most underrated players in Ireland is winger Alex Wootton who has speed to burn. Time and again he has shown his finishing skills and if Connacht can get the ball out to him then we could see him score. This match will be close as both teams are fighting for that top position. The odds on the Connacht victory are decent but I suggest the value bet of Connacht on the handicap. The best odds on the Connacht handicap victory are at: Worldsportsbetting (-3.5) 1.90, Sunbet (-3.5) 1.81 and Playabets (-3.5) 1.91

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