Head to Head
Cardiff first faced Treviso back in the 1999-2000 season when we voted Dan Baugh as our man of the match. That game saw a narrow victory for the home team and since then Cardiff have gone on to rack up eight victories in a row over Treviso at the Arms Park. In recent years the fixture has been an open one, with Cardiff breaching the 50 points mark in the most recent two games.
New Zealand-born Kieran Crowley joined Treviso following a stint as coach of the Canadian national team, and he’s gone on to become one of Treviso’s most successful coaches in the modern era. So far this season, the Italians have already recorded eight victories in the Pro14 – only two shy of their best-ever 2012-2013 season. Danny Wilson will be looking to end his career at the Arms Park on a high, where his present win-loss record across all games (friendlies included) stands at 50%.
Forty-four year old John Lacey (the second oldest official in the league) will referee his 68th Pro14 game this weekend. He originally played for Munster, a team he’s never refereed – of course. Treviso have only won 29% of their games when John officiates. This fixture will be only his fifth this season, and he’s averaging 19.5 penalties per game.
Treviso rank towards the bottom of the table when it comes to points efficiency. They are averaging one point every 2.11 minutes, with almost a minute difference between them and the Cheetahs – the most clinical team in the league. This season, the Italians have scored 46 tries across all competitions and look set to break their best record of 54 tries in the 2012-2013 season. Whilst there’s been some improvement in Cardiff’s defensive record this season, their attacking threat has rapidly diminished. This season could well become their worst in three years for number of tries scored. Treviso have the record for the lowest number of meters run with ball-in-hand this season. Whilst they are averaging over 3m per carry, that lags a little behind Cardiff this season. There is little to choose between the two teams when it comes to frequency of kicks – at home, the Welshmen average 22 per game, and away from home Treviso’s average is only one less.
Cardiff’s lineout remains one of the strongest in the league, having lost fewer lineouts on their own throw than any other team. Their scrum stats are less impressive and Treviso will look to exert pressure in this facet of play.
Both Cardiff and Treviso rank near the top of the table for tackle completion ratio in the Pro14 – only Edinburgh ranks higher. In their last outing in Parma, Cardiff once more topped 200 in attempted tackles in one game, a good sign of the tenacity and application of the squad. Whilst Treviso have yet to record such high figures, an analysis of their record reveals consistency across the board – whether playing home or away.
Treviso – along with the Cheetahs – are the most carded team in the league this season. One reason could be that whilst the Scarlets receive a card once every 61 penalties, a Treviso player is carded every 13 penalties. Cards are fairly evenly spread between home and away games. There is not too much to choose between the two teams when it comes to penalties conceded per game, and Treviso’s discipline away from home is far from the worst in the league.
Although Treviso have won their last two away games in the Pro14 – in Newport and Parma – they have a miserable away record overall. The home team are discovering a new intensity to their game and seem determined to end the season on a high. With key players returning from injury, despite the loss of Welsh squad members, Cardiff will be too strong for an Italian side also shorn of its better players thanks to the ludicrous timing of this fixture. Whilst the home side won’t reach the heights of recent fixture between these two teams, they will secure a rare bonus point victory and record a 35-11 victory.