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Treviso v Tigers HC Match Report

By Stopsy
January 11 2014

Welcome back Mr.Allen                                           I once flew from Liverpool to Treviso for the grand sum of 1p and although I didn’t see anything of the place as I was working in Venice, I always promised myself I would return to watch a game and then go to Venice as a tourist. I hope that some form of non ERC European competition will rise, phoenix like from the ashes of the credibility of the European game’s governance for that hope to prevail. 

And so the spluttering Tigers show rolls into Italy for potentially our last away game in the Heineken Cup. As we take the field we are in the mix still on 3 fronts but up against it and need to improve and do so quickly. 
What a relief to read that Anthony Allen and Steve Mafi are back with us and available, let’s pray that the seemingly relentless deluge of bad injuries has now abated and that the match day 23 can be selected from the whole squad soon. 
The squad is missing the human dynamo and wrecking ball that is Tom Youngs and the arguments over Toby’s fitness, Allen’s return, Owen’s place are well rehearsed but this team has a good look about it. What do we need? We need a win, a bonus point would be nice as would an eye catching performance and a resolute defence. 
The fly in the ointment is, as ever, the opposition who we have squeaked past in our last 2 visits so please let’s earn the win first. 
We have played them 7 times before today’s game and the average result is 41 – 14 however our last two visits have seen us leave victorious by 5 and 1 points respectively, so historical results count for nothing, this is an opponent that is getting better. 
BBC Radio Leicester chatters away convivially right up until kick off when it is unavailable over the internet, there goes the safety net! Then my feed of the live game, in Italian, cuts out, cue the first, but not the last of the day, bout of swearing, and the feed is restored. 
Treviso have taken a leaf out of the England coaching book and look to kick for territory at every opportunity, from an early such kick Tait fields well but is hammered by the onrushing tackler, a theme of the day for the Tigers’ receivers, the result of which is a penalty centre field to Treviso and 3 – 0 with 5 minutes played. Secretly I am pleased as this will knock any complacency out of us, I hope!. 
Our restart leads to the first scrum of the day which looks solid enough, we then play across the backs, miss move, scissors, drop the ball, Matt is caught again as receiver but this time we recycle and get a penalty for hands in the ruck on half way. Owen punts to the 22m, catch & drive at the lineout but due to lack of opposition we topple over, Owen then kicks cross field to Miles, inch perfect if Miles were 16ft tall but it doesn’t matter as play is called back for an offence at the previous lineout. Penalty to touch, catch, drive, try Salvi, 3 – 5 after 10 minutes, Owen missing the touchline conversion. Our try scoring has not been kind to him recently in terms of challenging conversions. 
Salvi then made the first of many turn overs and the ball made its way to Nial who chipped it intelligently over the defence and in field but to no avail. We seem to be forcing plays in the midfield but too far behind the gain line, either that or shuffling lateral ball to the wings while inviting the defence to smother us. The joys of listening to the excitable but flowing Italian language was then briefly interrupted by the dulcet East Midlands tones opining “you Jammy Sod”, one of the few bits I understood. The play in question was a clearance kick from Ben that bounced kindly for the Treviso 10 to knock on. Scrum to Tigers and following the solidity of the first scrum we shove early to give away a free kick, why do we do this? Surely one impact of removing the “yes 9” call will be to see an increase in early pushes. 
Thomas then breaks the rules of the game by running straight and making metres, we start offloading but lose the ball, and there was me thinking an offloading game was the answer to all our problems, admittedly a well executed offloading game still might be! 
And with that, the swear-o-meter went off the scale, McLean took one of Ben’s punts and sneakily donned Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak to make himself invisible to any Leicester tacklers. In behind us the Treviso team ploughed on for a well taken try for their 3 which was duly converted 10 - 5 after 18 minutes. OK this is enough anti-complacency medicine please! 
We then play the offloading game successfully all the way to knocking it on. So 22 minutes played and we have had 72% off the territory, fan-firkin-tastic. Mclean once again dons the invisibility cape and we concede another 3 points from the penalty. 
Tactical genius that I am, I have then thought, with the ball: stop kicking it away with no effective chase, slow it down and run straight; Without the ball perhaps we might try tackling the player with the ball if you don’t mind terribly? We are too lateral, the ball moves to the wings before drawing any of the defence, this style of attack wouldn’t challenge an under 10s defence. Treviso on the other hand are running forwards and making meters in the tackle and when they kick, they are generally pressuring the receiver as was the case when Ben recovered a tricky ball and passed to Matt who received two tacklers and cleared to touch gaining about 5m. From the knock on at the lineout we are then disrupted in the scrum on our own put in but clear it. Salvi turns over again and Ben punts to their 22 only for them to return for a lineout 2m inside our half, is there a wind behind Treviso’s kickers? The flags on the stadium look limp but their kicking is certainly more effective than ours. 
From the lineout we decide that offloading is so last season and look to have adopted netball as an approach, the ball is lobbed to players regardless of whether a Treviso player is on top of them at all, of course in netball the defenders are not allowed to touch the ball carrier, dirty rotten cheating Italians! But they knock on and at the scrum we are penalised and Cole goes in for afters. 
I then work out our tactics! Both masterful and wicked, we are trying to get any watching Ulster players to rupture their intercostal muscles by laughing too much. 
Again we play laterally but Ben makes a break from a penalty, yes! And opts for passing to the floor rather than the supporting layer, the ultimate result of which is that Treviso get the ball into our dead ball area for a 22m drop out to us. 

Salvi ignores the script and turns over another ball, Ben chips over, chases and regains the ball but passes to Niki well before the opposition and again the defence swallows our attack. We then get a 2 man overlap but decide to cut inside and get tackled. But it looks like we have a penalty and the feed drops. 
When it comes back we appear to have scored a penalty so 13 – 8 at 40 minutes. Apparently Vipers are on tour too. 
During the interval as well as replenishing my glass with Henry Weston’s rather splendid cider it would appear that the Italian TV team are taking pity on us as I recognise the litany of players’ names unavailable for this fixture. And quick, somebody sign up the last mini rugby player to leave the pitch, he must be destined for us, he is carried off injured. 
Treviso are out early for the 2nd half, I wonder whether the coaching nous of our side has managed to work out that by altering the direction of our running by 90 degrees we could actually get somewhere? 
Oh for Tom Youngs, Manu and Anthony! 
The game restarts, Waldrom takes, gets isolated, holds on, penalty, 16 – 8 at 41 minutes. Obviously we don’t want to risk too many Ulster players being fit. Will we be able to get a losing bonus point? 
Toby then runs straight! Half break and difficult pass to Matt is knocked on. Solid Treviso scrum but 9 breaks and exposes Gibson’s main weakness in defending off the scrum. Never mind, Niki then discovers Harry’s cloak, runs straight and Miles goes in for a try. I might have reservations about Miles’ defence but he certainly can finish. 16 – 13 and 45 minutes gone. We really need the next score. 
I was then treated to another interruption of the beautiful Italian language “kiss my ring” from one of the fancy dressed tourists, how proud I was to be British. 
Toby then gets pulled up for a forward pass, shame they didn’t go to the TMO then as I thought they were OK now! The scrum is messy regardless of clear feeding by their 9, Ayerza is penalised even though their 3 is prone and he is on his feet, was it binding? Cole again goes in for some afters, the Baron would be proud. But the score is now 19 – 13 after 49 minutes. 
But hark, what is this distant thundering I hear? The sound of approaching cavalry. Jordon on for Thomas, David on for Ben and glory be, Anthony on for Owen, no disrespect for the departing players and as if to make a point David’s first pass to Toby really does test whether his strained gluteus maximus is up to it by being 1cm off the deck. 
Allen is back and what a return! He tackles (that old fashioned thing, tackling) their prop and Dan lifts him off the ground in a clear demonstration of not releasing. The game’s tempo has palpably increased albeit our accuracy remains less improved. Penalty to us 19 – 16 thanks to David. 
Floody is now making half breaks at will and Allen has made an immediate and entirely positive impact. 
Their 15 then decides to have a kip on the wrong side of the ruck and David cleans his studs, I was entirely expecting a penalty or yellow card against us but joy of joys, a ref with some b0ll0cks who gives a yellow card to the player preventing the ball coming out. 
We still screw up though, 5m attacking lineout lost, Floody kicks straight to touch. Morris takes a high ball in heavy traffic and is praised “Morrisurrr bravo” by the Italian commentator. Hawkins is back, on for Briggs, who I thought did OK but both suffered by comparison to what we miss with Tom not being there. 
The tide has turned, Tait takes a high ball and Mele clears to find touch on their 22, we challenge their throw, Gibson charges down and they kick to touch for another lineout on their 22 but our throw. Lineout, catch and drive, try, sounds simple doesn’t it, 22 Metres out! 19 – 26 after 64 minutes. Will we get a try bonus?, oh me of little faith! 
Steve then replaces De Chaves, Crane breaks through the ruck to charge 10m upfield, a great miss pass to Benjamin 15 metres out, Allen does this weird running towards the try line thing and we score our 4th try from Miles. I am at a loss as to why the TMO was consulted but thank goodness it wasn’t the TMO from last week. 19 -31. 
Boris and Fraser come on and the scrum looks if anything, more stable albeit against Treviso’s replacement front row. Allen then does another innovative thing, he draws the man before passing, it comes to nothing and Treviso show a great offloading game to reach the half way line but Mele pins them back to their 22. 
Matt replaces Niki on 73 minutes and the game peters out. 
After the game the commentators were mentioning Peter Wheeler and Rory Underwood, it all sounded a bit like a reverse of the “your boys took one hell of a beating” spiel. 
Miles was awarded MOTM and also congratulated for his selection for the 6N squad, firstly in Italian and then in English, to which he replied “I’m not”. 
So 5 points needed, 5 points gained and still we fail to convince. Well, I am coming down next Saturday and I fully expect to witness another Tigers display and as long as we win, I don’t care what they put me through! 
Match officials: 

Referee Romain Poite (France) 
Touch Judge 1 Christophe Berdos (France) 
Touch Judge 2 Tual Trainini (France) 
Fourth Official Bruno Bessot (France) 
TMO Bruno Bessot (France) 
Assessor Gabriele Villari (Italy) 
Citing Commissioner Denis Templeton (Ireland) 

15 Mathew Tait 
14 Niall Morris 
13 Vereniki Goneva 
12 Toby Flood (c) 
11 Miles Benjamin 
10 Owen Williams 
9 Ben Youngs 
1 Marcos Ayerza 
2 Neil Briggs 
3 Dan Cole 
4 Louis Deacon 
5 Sebastian De Chaves 
6 Jamie Gibson 
7 Julian Salvi 
8 Thomas Waldrom 

16 Rob Hawkins 
17 Boris Stankovich 
18 Fraser Balmain 
19 Steve Mafi 
20 Jordan Crane 
21 David Mélé 
22 Anthony Allen 
23 Matt Smith 

15 Brendan Williams 
14 Angelo Esposito 
13 Michele Campagnaro 
12 Andrea Pratichetti 
11 Luke McLean 
10 Mat Berquist 
9 Edoardo Gori 
1 Michele Rizzo 
2 Leonardo Ghiraldini 
3 Lorenzo Cittadini 
4 Antonio Pavanello (capt) 
5 Valerio Bernabo 
6 Christian Loamanu 
7 Paul Derbyshire 
8 Robert Barbieri 
16 Franco Sbaraglini 
17 Alberto de Marchi 
18 Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet 
19 Marco Fuser 
20 Marco Filippucci 
21 Francesco Minto 
22 Fabio Semenzato 
23 James Ambrosini

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Treviso v Tigers HC Match Report (IP Logged)
11/01/2014 18:24
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2014:01:21:19:58:33 by Tiggs.

Re: Treviso v Tigers HC Match Report
Tiggs (IP Logged)
11/01/2014 18:57
Many thanks Mike, and see you on Sat.

Re: Treviso v Tigers HC Match Report
11/01/2014 20:21
Thank you young Mr [full] Stops

I found it intriguing how two excellent international props could be so inept, so either we should be head-hunting the Eyetie props or offering contracts for the officials?

'Lions led by donkeys' .. Lest we forget

Re: Treviso v Tigers HC Match Report
Stopsy (IP Logged)
11/01/2014 20:24
We could do worse than look at the Italian props!

Re: Treviso v Tigers HC Match Report
Rich W (IP Logged)
11/01/2014 20:59
Thanks Mike - but with such speed you make me look bad.

Pretty much what I saw.


Re: Treviso v Tigers HC Match Report
Stopsy (IP Logged)
11/01/2014 21:01
Only in the speed Rich

Re: Treviso v Tigers HC Match Report
daktari (IP Logged)
11/01/2014 21:05
Thanks for putting into writing how I also both felt and saw of that game. It cannot be easy being objective when the emotions are still racing around the mind, house points should be awarded.

Re: Treviso v Tigers HC Match Report
Rich W (IP Logged)
11/01/2014 21:17
Don't knock yourself Mike. You have us for that...


Re: Treviso v Tigers HC Match Report
Johns (IP Logged)
12/01/2014 09:47
Thanks Mike, excellent and I recommend a visit to Treviso so I hope there will be a European Competition next season (RCCC).

Should you go take Mrs S with you, I am told wonderful ladies shops, regrettably by the time I took my wife to see them it was Sunday and they were closed. A missed opportunity which I also missed on our second visit.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2014:01:12:09:50:04 by Johns.

Re: Treviso v Tigers HC Match Report
12/01/2014 11:01
''Should you go take Mrs S with you, I am told wonderful ladies shops, regrettably by the time I took my wife to see them it was Sunday and they were closed. A missed opportunity which I also missed on our second visit.'' .. ah, John, a man after my own heart .. during the week we were in Brescia for the Calvisano game [played at Lyonesse in the fog] I took my missus to Milan for the shopping on the Sunday .. same problem, so we had to go the San Siro for the football instead .. credit card gave me bl0w j0b reward

'Lions led by donkeys' .. Lest we forget

Re: Treviso v Tigers HC Match Report
Tiggs (IP Logged)
21/01/2014 19:58
Thanks again Mike !

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