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Howlett leads by example for Reds

The bright start to Rob Penney's reign as Munster coach continued at Thomond Park last night as they notched up their second win of the Pro12 campaign with ease.

Munster were applauded from the field at half-time after a polished performance had seen them race 16-3 in front and they would not have been flattered by a much larger margin. However, they failed to build on that bright opening in the second-half of the contest.

Treviso may have received an early boost with a penalty from out-half Alberto Di Bernardo from 35 metres after three minutes, but it was all Munster after that in the opening half.

They struck a telling blow after six minutes when a rehearsed line-out overthrow put Dave O'Callaghan away and he made the hard yards into the the '22' before sending his new skipper Doug Howlett over for a try which Ian Keatley converted with ease.

Munster, who were forced to start without Donncha O'Callaghan, whose wife went into labour, continued to pile on the pressure, but were content to tack on the points with Keatley making no mistake with three penalties against an understrength Treviso team who had made eight changes to the side which defeated champions Ospreys 12-6 on the opening weekend.

Munster, with James Downey superb in the centre and another new signing Sean Dougall also catching the eye in the back-row, showed a great willingness to throw the ball around and it was clearly only a matter of time before their superiority was going to be reflected on the scoreboard.

Munster continued to dominate after the restart and after Luke O'Dea and Casey Laulala were stopped short, Keatley extended the lead to 19-3 after 50 minutes after Treviso centre Alberto Sgarbi was yellow carded for killing the ball.

But Treviso, who were the first to ring the changes in the third quarter, defended well despite spending most of the third quarter penned inside their own '22' and they did not concede another score while they had a man in the bin.


And they reduced the margin going into the final quarter when Di Bernardo slotted over his second penalty from in front of the posts on a rare Treviso attack.

Munster finished with 14 players when replacement hooker Mike Sherry was yellow carded two minutes from time for killing the ball as Treviso came in search of a losing bonus point.

But the Munster line was never really threatened in those closing moments as Penney's men made it two from two to set them up for their first Irish derby away to Ulster next weekend.

However, while Penney will be pleased with the encouraging start he will be looking for his side to display a more ruthless streak when they get on top of teams. Meanwhile, Ugo Monye and George Robson scored two tries each as Harlequins cruised to a bonus-point 40-3 victory over London Welsh in the Twickenham-Richmond derby.

George Lowe touched down for Harlequins' fifth try and replacement out-half Ben Botica marked his Aviva Premiership debut with a late score off the bench, while Nick Evans kicked 10 points.

After the fireworks of Harlequins' Premiership record comeback victory over Wasps at Twickenham last week, this was a far more routine win for the reigning champions.

London Welsh, who managed a sole penalty from out-half Gordon Ross, have had a brutal introduction to the demands of the Premiership.

That was particularly tough on Premiership new-boys London Welsh, who were forced to face Harlequins just five days after their top flight debut against Leicester.

Munster -- D Hurley; D Howlett, C Laulala (I Dineen 64), J Downey, L O'Dea; I Keatley (S Keatley 70), D Williams (P Stringer 67); W du Preez (D Kilcoyne 51), D Varley (M Sherry 51), S Archer (BJ Botha 72); D Foley, B Holland; Dave O'Callaghan (T O'Callaghan 61), S Dougall, J Coughlan (P Butler 55).

Treviso -- B Williams; L Nitoglia, A Sgarbi, L Morisi (F Semenzato 40), T Iannone; A Di Bernardo, E Gori ( K Burton 71); M Rizzo (A De Marchi 47), E Ceccato (G Maistri 64), L Cittadini (I Fernandez-Rouyet 47); A Pavanello (C Van Zyl 47), V Bernabo; S Favaro (R Barbieri 51), D Budd (A Zanni 67), P Derbyshire.

Ref -- A McMenemy (SRU).

Irish Independent