Lions' Challenge Cup campaign ends in defeat to Benetton

Lions' Challenge Cup campaign ends in defeat to Benetton

The Lions were eliminated from the Challenge Cup with a 27-17 defeat against Benetton in Treviso on Saturday evening, despite a numerical advantage.

Benetton played with 14 players for most of the second half, but the Lions couldn't capitalise on this opportunity.

The game started evenly, with both teams scoring early tries within the first ten minutes, leaving the score tied at 10-10. Lions captain Jaco Visagie and Benetton's prop Thomas Gallo were instrumental in their teams' early successes. 

However, Lions flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse missed a crucial penalty kick, allowing Benetton's Rhyno Smith to score a drop goal, giving his team a 10-7 lead.

Benetton then extended their lead with a try from Onisi Ratave, making it 17-7. Despite Hendrikse narrowing the gap with a penalty kick before halftime, Benetton led 17-10 at the break.

The game shifted when Benetton's Giacomo Nicotera received a red card in the 43rd minute. 

Hendrikse's subsequent try levelled the score at 17-17, but Benetton quickly regained control with another try and conversion, leading 24-17.

The Lions failed to take advantage of a yellow card against Benetton and lacked urgency in the final minutes. Benetton held onto possession, securing their quarterfinals spot with a 27-17 victory.

The defeat marks a disappointing end to the Lions' Challenge Cup campaign, highlighting their struggles in converting opportunities against a resilient Benetton side.

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