Bennett not taking Zebre Parma lightly
Mark Bennett won’t be underestimating bottom of the URC side Zebre Parma as they visit DAM Health Stadium this Saturday afternoon (7 January, kick-off 3pm).
The Italian team have yet to win in this year’s Championship but have impressed in all matches with a swashbuckling style of attack and typical passion in defence.
“I think it’s harsh when people say they’ve not been great. Watch the way they’re playing,” explained Bennett.
“They play great rugby and at the start of the season they ran four good teams close and got four losing bonus points I’m sure.
“So they’re going to be a good challenge. But we need a result. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter who it was next. But Zebre won’t be any pushovers, that’s for sure.”
Bennett returned to Edinburgh’s starting line-up in last weekend’s close-run contest with Glasgow and provided his usual flurry of pace and threating breaks in the 13 channel.
With a chance to hit the restart button this Saturday, Bennett has backed he and his teammates to put in a performance in front of the Edinburgh support.
“Absolutely, I back us this weekend. But there aren’t many games – if any – where I’m not thinking we’re going to do it and we’re going to win this.
“For us it’s just business as usual. We need to dust ourselves down. At the weekend there it wasn’t good enough in the second half. So we need to get ready for this weekend.
“I’m not quite sure why we’ve fallen short. We’ve made individual errors at key moments that have cost us. But we’re not far away which is the most frustrating thing.
“If you look at all the games that we’ve lost, they’ve all been within seven points. So they are games we could have won. We’re just not quite there.
“But it’s been a good couple of days. We had a good meeting on Monday and then a good training session on Tuesday and I feel we’ve washed that away. We’re now getting ready for what will be a huge game on Saturday.”
Part of that ‘washing away’ and reflection in defeat comes almost immediately for Bennett who now has a ritual habit of watching back the full 80 minutes of every match he plays in.
It’s a therapeutic process for the Scotland international and gives Bennett the opportunity to ‘switch off’ his brain after the rigours of professional match.
“I need to watch the game again before I can switch off. So, on Friday night I got home and watched the whole thing,” explained Bennett.
“That helps me get rid of it and I can move on. I do that after every home game as I struggle to switch off otherwise.
“Away from home, the boys are there to distract you and you’re usually in a hotel. But when I’m at home I find it hard to switch off without seeing it again.
“You’ll replay things in your head. And half the time it’s not what it looked like in reality! I do that win or lose. It’s the easiest way for me to switch off. I don’t take notes or anything like that as we’ll watch again usually as a team.
“But straight after a game it’s just for me so I can marry up the pictures with what I was thinking and what actually happened. Quite often there’s a big gulf between your memory and actual reality. It can be quite funny. You think you’ve absolutely smashed someone and then you watch it and it’s a passive tackle…
“I’ve got a series link for all the URC games on Viaplay so it’s always there when I get home. I fast forward all the stoppages in play and scrums to save a bit of time!”