Saturday 22 July 2017

Slow start angers McGahan

Treviso 19
Munster 18

Ian Bransfield At Stadio Comunale di Monigo

There was little for Munster to be positive about yesterday as they fell to their first ever defeat against Italian opposition in Treviso.

In truth, the final scoreline probably flattered Tony McGahan's side who came a distinct second best in almost every facet of play.

Hamstrung by a front-row that took a pounding in the scrum, they at one stage trailed 16-3, and despite mounting a late comeback, Treviso held on to register a deserved win.

"You don't start playing half way through the second half and expect to win," conceded Doug Howlett after the final whistle. "The disappointment is deep in this game, there is a feeling of letting the side down."

Howlett managed to cross over for the first of Munster's two tries in the 67th minute, the second coming from James Coughlan 10 minutes later.

By that stage, however, much of the damage had already been done.

The front-row combination of Darragh Hurley, Damien Varley and Stephen Archer endured a torrid opening 40 minutes, conceding five penalties in a retreating scrum.

The left boot of Willem de Vaal punished them twice, cancelling out Paul Warwick's sixth-minute penalty to leave Treviso in the lead at the break. The home side re-emerged with a one-man deficit after Franco Sbaraglini was binned before half-time.

Such was Munster's inaccuracy, however, that they never really looked like taking advantage, and it was Treviso who grew in confidence.

Wian du Preez was introduced for Hurley at half-time, but it made little difference as the Italians continued to dominate the engagement, and subsequently the flow of the match.

Varley received his marching orders in the 47th minute for infringing in Treviso's red zone, De Vaal landed another penalty, and then Du Preez joined his front-row companion in the bin for repeated infringement.

With a two-man advantage, Treviso came on strong and eventually worked an opening for Gonzalo Padro to score in the corner.

De Vaal converted to put daylight between the sides, and though Munster did well to make a game of it late on, the losing bonus point was of little consolation to McGahan, who did not conceal his disappointment.

"I'm really annoyed with our performance today," he grumbled.

"You can't come to a place like this and expect to win if you don't get any platform to play off.

"I thought we were lethargic to start the game, our set-piece was in trouble for most of the game, and our inability to put them under pressure at the back end of the game was disappointing.

"We should have been there all game."

Treviso -- B Williams; L Nitoglia (B de Jager 79), E Galon, A Pratichetti (T Benvenuti 61), M Sepe (E Ceccato 37-44); W De Waal, T Botes; M Rizzo (I Fernandez Rouyet 6), F Sbaraglini, L Cittadini (P Di Santo 60); A Pavanello (capt), C Van Zyl; B Vermaak, G Padrò, M Filippucci (E Pavanello 78).

Munster -- S Deasy (D Hurley 60); D Howlett, T Gleeson (S Tuitupou 51), L Mafi, S Zebo (D Hurley 55 -60); P Warwick, D Williams; D Hurley (W du Preez h/t), D Varley (M Sherry 57-66), S Archer (P Borlase 60); I Nagle (D Ryan 60), D Foley (M O'Driscoll 49), B Holland (M Sherry 47-57), T O'Donnell, J Coughlan.

Ref -- J Jones (WRU).

Irish Independent

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