RaboDirect PRO12 side Benetton Treviso have already faced Ulster opposition this season after they hosted Bangor RFC during the north Down club’s pre-season tour of Italy.
Bangor, who played two other friendlies during the week-long tour, managed to take a surprise 3-0 lead in the opening two minutes against Treviso but eventually succumbed to a 92-3 defeat.
Nevertheless, it proved to be an unforgettable experience as club captain Jamie Clegg explained.
“We didn’t really know what to expect. We arrived at the ground thinking we would be facing their second string or Academy side but we soon realised it was their first team minus a few Internationals!,” quipped Clegg.
“I think there must have been a communication breakdown somewhere along the way! It was really hot and humid so we were sweating before we even got onto the pitch.
“We kicked off and they caught the ball and ran it back at us. We made the tackle and their player was penalised for not releasing the ball. We kicked the penalty and went three points up. They must have thought ‘Bangor are here to play’!”
He continued: “We won some scrums and some lineout ball but they were so physical, it was almost impossible to get over the gain line.”
The number 8 ‘enjoyed’ a personal battle with Italian international back rower Manoa Vosawai. “Every time I got the ball he smashed me and every time he got the ball I had to tackle him. He gave me a black eye into the bargain.”
Jamie is extremely proud of how his team – a mixture of 1st, 2nd and 3rd XV players – performed against their more illustrious opponents.
“They were phenomenal. The Treviso coach spoke to the group afterwards and said he was impressed with the commitment shown by our guys. He said they base their game on pride, passion and a never-say-die attitude and he could see that in our game.”
The Bangor players finished the match with a rendition of their club song in front of 2,200 fans at the Stadio di Monigo. Click here to watch a video of the post-match sing song!
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