The Lions chased Benetton to the final whistle but could not avoid a third straight Vodacom United Rugby Championship defeat when the teams clashed in Treviso on Sunday afternoon.
Winger Edoardo Padovani went over in the corner to give Benetton a 15-10 lead midway through the final quarter, and the hosts then hunkered down to defend at least 30 phases of attack from the Lions before a Hanru Sirgel knock on drew the final whistle.
Former New Zealand and Tonga centre Malakai Fekitoa opened the scoring for Benetton with some fancy footwork and flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse responded with a solitary penalty to make it 7-3 at the break.
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Lions replacement prop Asenathi Ntlabakanye rumbled across the line at the start of the fourth quarter, the conversion levelling the scores.
But where the tourists couldn’t keep Padovani out, Benetton showed patient resolve to deny the Lions the try they needed to taste victory for the first time this season.
The touring Lions will look to get their campaign on track with a victory over the Scarlets next week while Benetton host the Stormers.
Photo: Luca Sighinolfi