Keatley on the mark to rescue Reds
Treviso 13 Munster 16
Published 29/02/2016 | 02:30
Francis Saili ran in his second try in as many games, but Munster needed two late Ian Keatley penalties to edge past Treviso in Italy.
Anthony Foley's side desperately needed a win after two defeats in a row against top-six rivals Ospreys and Glasgow in recent weeks saw them slip out of the top six places. But they are back on track again after their fourth win of the season over Treviso lifts them back into the Champions Cup spots.
But it was tough going throughout for the Reds, and when they trailed 7-5 at half-time and then 13-10 after the hour, they looked set to taste another frustrating evening in a difficult season to date.
Gerhard van den Heever had crossed the whitewash in the first half and Saili did likewise in the second, but a couple of missed conversions from Keatley gave the Italians hope.
Munster have a 100 per cent record at home to Treviso in the Pro12, but they had lost to them three times on the road. And defeat number four looked to be on the cards when Dave Kilcoyne was sin-binned two minutes from time for a shoulder charge on Filo Paulo, but Keatley spared their blushes with a late winner.
Treviso were also looking to make up ground on Zebre in their race for Champions Cup rugby next term but their ill-discipline cost them late and Keatley reaped the rewards for Munster as they gained valuable momentum for the run-in in the Pro12.
Van den Heever dotted down after just 12 minutes as Munster got off to a great start, but when Keatley missed the conversion Munster were punished. Robert Barbieri got a try back for Treviso and Jayden Hayward's conversion made it 7-5 at half-time.
Keatley was caught out shortly after the restart when his poor up and under turned over possession inside the Munster half. And when the ball was kicked the recovering Munster out-half only just got to the ball ahead of Hayward - TMO Alan Falzone confirmed the decision and the Reds were off the hook.
But Hayward slotted a penalty in the 53rd minute to extend Treviso's led before Saili bagged the visitors' second try to get them back in contention.
The Auckland-born centre got across the line ahead of the home side's cover in the 58th minute when Andrew Conway kicked through, but Keatley missed the conversion which left the sides tied at 10-10.
Hayward was accurate with his third kick of the day, a penalty in the 65th minute but Keatley made amends and two successful kicks from the tee ensured Munster got the vital win.
Treviso - J Hayward; L Nitoglia (T Iannone 77), L Morisi, A Sgarbi, A Esposito; S Christie, A Lucchese (C Smylie 70); Al de Marchi (C Traorè 59), L Bigi (F Zani 59), S Ferrari (F Filippetto 54); F Paulo, T Palmer (J Montauriol 76); M Barbini (D Budd 54), M Lazzaroni, R Barbieri (An De Marchi 70).
Munster - A Conway; D Sweetnam, F Saili, R Scannell, G van den Heever; I Keatley, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry (N Scannell 56), J Ryan; M Chisholm (D Foley 56), B Holland, J O'Donoghue (M Sagario 80), D O'Callaghan (R Copeland 66), R Copeland (T O'Donnell 55).
Ref - L Hodges (WRU)
Ref - I Davies (WRU)