Getting to know you: Benetton Rugby

Tuesday, 4th December 2018 @ 19:00

Read up on Saturday's opponents in the third round of the European Rugby Challenge Cup; Benetton Rugby (kick-off 14:00 GMT).

Founded: 1932
Stadium: Stadio Monigo (Capacity: 5,000)


1987 Rugby World Cup winner Kieran Cowley has been Head Coach of Benetton Rugby since 2016. In his previous role, Cowley led Canada to two Rugby World Cups (2011 and 2015) and had an international playing career spanning eight years; winning 35 All Blacks caps at Fullback.

81-times capped Italian hooker Fabio Ongaro is Benetton's scrum coach, while fellow Italian legend Marco Bortolami (112 Italy caps) occupies the line out coach role.

Former Italy backs Ezio Galon is Backs Coach while former Bulls and Benetton back Marius Goosen is Defence Coach.


New-Zealand born but capped by Italy, Dean Budd is Benetton's current captain. Former Blues lock Budd has made 16 appearances for the Azzuri.

Current position 

League: 4th (23 points) in Guinness PRO14 Conference B (Played 10, Won 4, Lost 6)
Challenge Cup: 2nd (6 points) in Pool 5 (Played 2, Won 1, Lost 1)


Despite winning their last match against Southern Kings in the PRO 14 last Saturday, Benetton have lost four of their previous five matches in all competitions.

Domestic form has seen them pick up wins against Cardiff, Dragons and a pair of victories over Kings however there have been heavy defeats to Ospreys and Leinster.

In the Challenge Cup, Benetton thumped Grenoble 40-14 in Round 1 before losing to Agen by the narrowest of margins; 20-19 at Stade Armandie. In Europe, both Tommaso Allan and Luca Bigi have impressed so far.


Benetton finished fifth in Conference B of the 2017/18 PRO 14 with a won 11, lost 10 record. Like Harlequins, Benetton featured in the 2017/18 instalment of the Champions Cup but finished bottom of a tough Pool with a won 0, lost 6 record.

Last time in the European Rugby Challenge Cup 

Benetton last featured in the competition back in the 2016/17 season. That year saw home and away losses to both La Rochelle and Gloucester Rugby, despite the Italians inflicting home and away defeats on Bayonne. 

Ones to watch 

As well as their inspirational skipper Budd, fellow forwards Derrick Appiah and Alessandro Zanni will also be ones to watch this weekend. Appiah joined Benetton after playing for Worcester Warriors in the Gallagher Premiership and will bring his tough tackling game at the coal face. Capped 109 times by Italy, Zanni will bring a wealth of experience on Saturday.

Also in the forwards, Hame Faiva will be one to keep an eye out for after the hooker ran in three times in their win over Southern Kings last weekend.

Alongside Allan, in the backs, winger Monty Ioane - nephew of Digby - has already run in three tries this season while Alberto Sgarbi will be set to bring muscle to the midfield.


Despite never meeting in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, they did face eachother twice in the 1999/2000 Heineken Cup campaign. Benetton won both matches - 19-22 and 24-23 - however those two defeats to Benetton remain Quins' only losses to Italian opposition in European competition, winning six in a row since then with each victory coming by more than 30 points.

Return fixture

European Rugby Challenge Cup - Round 4

Harlequins v Benetton Rugby, The Stoop, Saturday 15th December, kick-off 14:00

Next up at The Stoop

Secure your space for the return fixture next Saturday for our final match at The Stoop of 2018. Tickets - that are just £10 for all juniors - are available at

Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith ahead of our Gallagher Premiership match against Worcester Warriors.

Harlequins Ladies will look to make history and break the record attendance for a women's club rugby match in this country when they face Gloucester Hartpury in The Game Changer: an annual celebration of the women’s game at The Stoop (Saturday 30th M

Forwards Coach Alex Codling looks ahead to our home matches against both Worcester Warriors and Bristol Bears.