Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

‘Two wins not enough’ as Lions want to keep building against Benetton

Playing against Benetton in Italy is going to be a tough challenge for the Lions, but one they are looking forward to.

The Lions recent resurgence in the United Rugby Championship (URC) ‘is not enough’ and they are targeting a third win on the trot when they take on Benetton at the Stadio Monigo in Treviso on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

After a dreadful run of form which saw the Lions lose five URC games in a row, they finally snapped that losing streak with an impressive home win over Glasgow Warriors last month and followed that up with an even more impressive away win over the Bulls earlier this month.

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It has given the team a boost as they make a late play to try and force their way into the URC play-off conversation, although a loss against Benetton will end any lingering hopes of reaching the top eight.

“Getting those two wins was important for us, we took a lot of confidence out of them. We always felt the ability was there. We have since been able to focus on the things that make us a team and our identity as a team,” explained Lions loose forward Emmanuel Tshituka.

“So we have built confidence from these past two wins. But two wins isn’t enough, we really have to build on what we have done in the past two URC games and implement that this weekend.

“The message from the coaching staff is to just focus on this weekend’s game. We have put ourselves in a position where we have to rely on certain teams to lose and certain teams to win, which is an unfortunate place to find ourselves.

“But we can only control what we can do and that is to beat Benetton this weekend. We can then target the next two games after that and see where we are at the end of the season.”

Tough challenge

Playing against Benetton in Italy is going to be a tough challenge for the Lions, but one they are looking forward to, with the two teams playing a similar style of attacking rugby that they will be eager to implement on the day.

“Coming to Italy we know the Italians are quite emotional people and they (Benetton) have a very strong, supportive fan base. So when you come here you always know it is going to be a tough game,” said Tshituka.

“They also play a very expansive and attractive brand of rugby. They have a very good counter-attack, which is quite similar to how we want to play the game as well.

“It’s going to be a difficult game. Hopefully the weather plays its part and allows us to play the expansive game we want to play. Benetton always pitches when they play at home.”

“We came here to get the points, so our focus is on getting the win. We strongly believe in what we have going on here and I think we can get the win this weekend.”

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