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Benetton determined to push on after unlikely Rainbow Cup triumph

Benetton Rainbow Cup

Benetton fly-half Paolo Garbisi and departing head coach Kieran Crowley have both urged the Italian side to push on after winning the Pro14 Rainbow Cup.

Despite having failed to win any of their 16 regular Guinness Pro14 matches this season, Benetton were crowned as Rainbow Cup champions after five successive wins in the one-off tournament.

The Bulls were the strong favourites heading into Saturday’s final in Treviso, having again proven in recent months that they are the best side in South Africa, but Benetton dominated right from the start to claim a 35-8 victory.

Paolo Garbisi: ‘We have to show this every week.’

Jake White’s Bulls were without four of their best players as they are currently with the Springboks preparing for games against Georgia and the test series against the British and Irish Lions, but few would have predicted them suffering a heavy loss against the Italians.

Man of the match Garbisi was speaking after his side’s win in front of their home fans, and insisted that Benetton must use the Rainbow Cup triumph as a stepping stone to further success.

“We’ve always believed in our capabilities. We’ve been through hard times especially in the Pro14 but we didn’t stop believing in ourselves,” Garbisi said.

“I think that this is the best gift that we could have given to ourselves… This victory is a massive step to where we want to go.

“I think now we’ve made a statement and next year we just have to keep doing this [type of] performance because now we can’t hide ourselves. We are this team now and we have to show this every week from next season.”

Departing Benetton head coach Kieran Crowley on his team’s future.

Departing Benetton head coach Crowley, who will now take up his new role as Italy’s head coach, echoed his fly-half’s statement of intent while acknowledging that Benetton won’t be taken for granted again next season.

“We’ve won on a big stage so you they should have a little bit of self belief. Now you’ve got to get to that again before you can put it in action again,” Crowley commented.

“You learn that you deserve to be there so hopefully that is a line in the sand for us and I think going forward that these boys will be hunted now. It’s a different thing, you can’t always come in under the radar.”

The Rainbow Cup triumph is the first time an Italian club have ever won an international club tournament, and is Benetton’s first piece of silverware since they left the Italian league to join what was known as the Magners League in 2010.

The Treviso-based side will be looking to take their new-found confidence into next season’s United Rugby Championship, where they will hope to find more success against the best sides in South Africa.

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