Saturday 25 November 2017

Winning start for Munster as Stander saves sloppy display

Munster 18 Treviso 13

Munster’s Duncan Williams tries to find a way past Duncan Naudé and Tom Palmer
Munster’s Duncan Williams tries to find a way past Duncan Naudé and Tom Palmer
David Johnston, Munster, is tackled by Braam Steyn, Benetton Treviso
A view of the scoreboard after the game

John Fallon

CJ Stander crossed for a couple of second-half tries to get Munster's Pro12 campaign off to a winning start at Irish Independent Park in Cork last night.

The South African, captaining the side in a competitive game for the first time, got the vital scores as Munster got over the line in a far from impressive performance.

The win maintains Munster's 100% home winning record against the Italians and they will look to build on it when they take to the road next weekend against Ospreys in Wales.

Munster, who lost their opening game at home to Edinburgh last season, needed to get on top from the outset and good early pressure yielded a sixth minute penalty for Ian Keatley.

But Treviso showed they were up for the battle and not afraid to go wide and they struck for the opening try after eleven minutes after an impressive move.

They pulled Munster wide and when they went back to the left South African Dean Budd made the most of a missed tackle by his compatriot CJ Stander to race over.

Jayden Hayward landed the difficult conversion from the left to make it 7-3 to the Italians.

Munster's lineout was far from perfect and they struggled to turn possession into genuine chances, but Keatley reduced the deficit with a penalty after a good bout of sustained pressure.

Munster, with promising centre David Johnston, short-term signing Shane Monahan and lock John Madigan making their competitive debuts, made a solid start to the second-half and the impressive Jack O'Donoghue almost put Mike Sherry over for a try off a lineout move, but the hooker was bundled into touch.

However, Munster turned the screw and did not let Treviso clear their lines, forcing a couple of penalties which they sent to the right corner.

The Italians defended the onslaught admirably but the pressure eventually told and Stander managed to stretch and get the touchdown to put Munster back in front.

Keatley's conversion from the left missed the target but Anthony Foley's men showed a new purpose and took control.

Centre Rory Scannell continued to impress as they drove forward as they tried to kill off the challenge of the Italians.

A neat exchange between Monahan and Keatley cut the visitors' defence to shreds to send Stander over for his second try after 54 minutes.

Treviso refused to lie down and the Italians reduced the margin eight minutes from time when Hayward landed a penalty from 30 metres.

Treviso snatched a deserved bonus point with the final kick of the night when Hayward kept his nerve to steer home a penalty from 25 metres.

Scorers: Munster: Tries: CJ Stander (2) Con: I Keatley Pens: Keatley (2)

Treviso: Try: D Budd Con: J Hayward Pens: Hayward (2)

Munster: F Jones; A Conway, D Johnston (C Bohane 69), R Scannell, S Monahan; I Keatley (T Bleyendaal 56), D Williams (C Sheridan 73); J Cronin (J Ryan 60), M Sherry, BJ Botha (S Archer 65); J Madigan (R Copeland 56), D Foley; D O'Callaghan, J O'Donoghue (S Buckley 69), CJ Stander.

Treviso: J Hayward; L Nitoglia, T Iannone, H Bacchin (S Ragusi), A Pratichetti; S Christie, C Smylie (A Lucchese 46); A De Marchi (M Zanusso 46), R Santamaria, R Harden (S Ferrari 59); D Naude (F Gerosa 46), T Palmer (JF Montauriol 68); R Barbieri (M Barbini 56), D Budd (L Bigo 76), B Steyn.

Referee: L Linton (SRU).

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