IF Wales' first home defeat to Italy to end this year's Six Nations campaign was a new low for Welsh rugby then where does the game stand now following a humiliating defeat for its most famous club?

Cardiff’s United Rugby Championship campaign came to a miserable conclusion this evening as they were subjected to a 69-21 defeat by Benetton in Treviso.

The hosts had lost their previous five home matches against Welsh opposition but never looked like losing a fixture in which they scored a remarkable 10 tries.

Callum Braley, Tomas Albornoz and Rhyno Smith all touched down twice for the home side, while Lorenzo Cannone, Michele Lamaro, Federico Ruzza and Giovanni Pettinelli were also on the scoresheet.

Smith racked up 29 points for the second week running – the most by any player in a URC match this season.

Cardiff had to make do with two tries from Rhys Carre and one for Max Llewellyn, along with six points from the boot of Rhys Priestland, as they slipped to 14th in the final table.

The defeat is another blow to the morale of Welsh rugby with the national side due to depart for a summer tour of South Africa.

Benetton applied the early pressure and made the first breakthrough in the 13th minute when Cannone went over following a line-out drive, with Smith adding the extras.

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The hosts doubled their advantage three minutes later, with Albornoz taking the pass from Ignacio Brex before exploiting a gap in the Cardiff defence and sprinting for home, opening the door for Smith to split the posts again.

Italy skipper Lamaro was next to go over, running in under the posts after receiving a tidy offload from Ruzza. Smith could hardly have asked for an easier effort from the tee.

A Smith penalty followed and scrum-half Braley clinched the bonus point with another score under the posts that was again converted by Smith.

Carre ensured Cardiff did not end the half pointless, but even with Priestland’s conversion, the visitors trailed 31-7 at the break.

Prop Carre added a second shortly after the resumption, converted by Priestland, but Benetton were soon back in the groove with an excellent team try finished off by Albornoz.

Smith could not add the extras, but he rediscovered his range after some more good hands sent Braley over for his second in the 55th minute.


A Llewellyn try and two more points from Priestland’s boot reduced the arrears to 22, but Smith then scored Benetton’s seventh. Although he could not convert his own score, he did after Ruzza’s subsequent interception try.

Pettinelli then added try number nine before Smith rounded off a fantastic display by carrying Benetton into double figures for tries scored, converting both of the late touchdowns.

The National Wales: Cornal Hendricks of Bulls beats the challenge from Luke Morgan of Ospreys as he dives into the corner to score a try. Picture: Gareth Everett/Huw Evans AgencyCornal Hendricks of Bulls beats the challenge from Luke Morgan of Ospreys as he dives into the corner to score a try. Picture: Gareth Everett/Huw Evans Agency

Ospreys 31 - Bulls 38

In Swansea a late rally from the Ospreys wasn't enough to snatch victory, or even a draw, against South Africans the Bulls but it did keep the home side's hopes of winning the URC's Welsh Shield alive.

Ospreys scored their final two tries in the last four minutes of the game to frighten the Bulls that had led 38-17 just past the hour mark.

The top placed Welsh side will qualify for Europe's top competition, the Champions Cup, and the bonus points - for scoring four tries and finishing within seven points - means the Ospreys are currently the leading one of the four Welsh sides.

The result has also placed the pressure on the Scarlets to win their home game in Llanelli on Saturday against South African side the Stormers to take the Welsh Shield and the European qualification place.

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