Andy Farrell an interested spectator as Munster annihilate Treviso in season opener
Munster 34 Benetton Rugby 3
Munster encountered little difficulty in maintaining their 100% home winning record against the Treviso outfit as they got the new PRO14 competition off to a flying start at Irish Independent Park.
Munster, leading by 27-3 at the interval, looked sharp on the opening night of the season but won’t be getting carried away with a win over an Italian side who show no sign of improving on the slackness of the last few years.
Indeed, the Reds will be disappointed they didn’t run in an even bigger score of a game they dominated throughout.
Munster won all seven previous home clashes against the Italians and had the bonus point in the bag after just over half an hour.
By the interval Munster were coasting to victory on a 27-3 scoreline but only managed one more score after that.
It would have been much more had Tyler Bleyendaal been more accurate but he missed four of five conversions.
He landed the first of them with a superbly measured kick from the right after lock Jean Kleyn had got them off the mark after nine minutes with the opening try after a sustained bout of pressure.
The other four tries in the opening half came from the backs, with Duncan Williams popping the ball up beautifully for his half-back partner Bleyendaal to dive over after Tommy O’Donnell had been stopped short after another good attack.
Munster, with new centre Chris Farrell crowning his competitive debut with some great surges, continued to dominate and wrapped up the bonus point when first Darren Sweetnam and then Alex Wootton crossed for tries.
The presence of Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell, who had a brief stint with Munster, didn’t go unnoticed among supporters speculating that he may be a possible replacement when Rassie Erasmus departs in December.
Full-back Andrew Conway, full of endeavour from the start, was the next to slice the Italians when he jinked his way from deep to score a fine try as he continued the form which saw him score eleven last season.
Munster continued to build on that 27-3 advantage after the restart and they crossed for a sixth try after 50 minutes when Kleyn bulldozed over after Italian international Francesco Minto was binned for killing the ball.
Munster introduced Mike Sherry for his first competitive action since May 2016 and the hooker will be glad to get game-time after recovering from a troublesome back injury.
Both sides emptied their benches in the second-half and, inevitably, the game became more disjointed and Munster will be disappointed not to push on and post a much bigger score.
The only disappointment on the night for Munster was a serious knee injury picked up by Dan Goggin after he was introduced and Erasmus said afterwards that he would need to be assessed before the extend of it is established.