Edinburgh v Benetton Preview

 

Edinburgh Rugby travel to Treviso on Saturday night, and the travelling Scots will be looking for a confident performance against a Benetton side which has struggled so far this season.

Richard Cockerill’s men are currently third in the Pro14 Conference B table having won three of their four early season matches, whilst Benetton’s only win was a 36-30 defeat of the Southern Kings last weekend.

This by no means entitles Edinburgh to a definite result as it was the Italian outfit that, in claiming an 18-10 win at the tail end of last season, dashed Edinburgh’s hopes of reaching the Pro14 playoffs. And the Edinburgh players are fully mindful of this fact heading in to the fixture.

“It’s a tough place to go and play,” admitted Edinburgh fly half Simon Hickey. “They’ll probably get a few Italian internationals back so that’ll add to them. You look at last season, they made the play-offs, so they’re a good team and we’ll have to be right on it to give ourselves a chance.”

Meanwhile, assistant coach Duncan Hodge discussed the impact he thinks a revamped style of play has had on Edinburgh’s results.

“As with every good team you’ve got to keep evolving – keep up with the times and try and get ahead of defences in my eyes.”

“That’s where the World Cup was actually very good for us, in that we had a longer pre-season to try a few things out and bed some things in,” Hodge said. “It’s been good and we’re starting to see a bit of fruit to that.”

“There will be bumps along the way, and I guarantee there will be times when it doesn’t work, but at the minute I think everyone’s fairly content and settled with what we’re doing and we’ll just keep going.”

Edinburgh will be looking to keep going all the way to the play-offs this season, having come within touching distance of them during the 2018/19 season. The team currently sit third in their conference’s table, with only Irish contingents Connacht and Munster above them.

Their opposition Benetton – who, last season, were the first Italian side to advance to the Pro14 play-offs – have had a less than idle start to the season as they have fallen to produce results against Leinster, Connacht and Ospreys.

Due to this lack of results, Edinburgh can be assured that they will come up against a Benetton side determined to make a statement and prove their appearance in last season’s play offs was no fluke.

Hickey acknowledged that in order to get a result in that environment, Edinburgh will have to execute their newer style of play with precision.

“We’ve got a strong back line, they’re keen to get their hands on the ball,” he explained. Communication has been a big thing we’ve worked on from a 10’s perspective that makes it easier to get the ball in their hands.

“The wider style of play suits me – it’s the way I grew up playing and the way I enjoy playing the most – an expansive, fast game where you play off your instincts. That’s my favourite type of game and when it unfolds that way, I certainly enjoy it.”

And Edinburgh will certainly be hoping to capitalise on that appreciation of their evolved playing style that the majority of their players seem to have.

Their match against Benetton will kick off at 5:15pm (UK time) on Premier Sports 2.

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