| 6.6°C Dublin

JJ Hanrahan the Munster hero as stoppage-time drop goal snatches dramatic win in Treviso

Benetton 16 Munster 18

Close

JJ Hanrahan of Munster is congratulated by team-mates after kicking the winning drop goal in the Guinness PRO14 match against Benetton at Stadio Monigo in Treviso, Italy. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

JJ Hanrahan of Munster is congratulated by team-mates after kicking the winning drop goal in the Guinness PRO14 match against Benetton at Stadio Monigo in Treviso, Italy. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

JJ Hanrahan of Munster is congratulated by team-mates after kicking the winning drop goal in the Guinness PRO14 match against Benetton at Stadio Monigo in Treviso, Italy. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

JJ Hanrahan put a nightmare week behind him to produce a moment of class and snatch victory with a 35 metre drop goal deep into stoppage time at Stadio Monigo in Treviso.

Hanrahan, who missed a couple of kicks in the loss to Leinster last weekend, was drafted in for Ben Healy for the final quarter and displayed nerves of steel in the closing minutes to prevent a third loss in four PRO14 games this month.

The Italians, who came into the game with nine losses in a winless campaign, looked set for victory when they hit the front for the first time ten minutes from time

Munster were two points adrift inside their own 22 with half a minute left before Hanrahan made massive ground down the left with a penalty.

Munster won the lineout and drove forward but, not for the first time in this encounter, couldn’t find a way through a disciplined defence and in the end Hanrahan went back into the pocket, scrum-half Nick McCarthy found him with a perfect pass and the Kerry man split the posts from 35 metres to snatch a dramatic win.

The evening had started badly for Munster with Roman Salanoa, due to make his first start after three appearances off the bench following his summer move from Leinster, was a late withdrawal through injury and Stephen Archer came in, with John Ryan added to the bench.

It didn’t little to disrupt Munster, despite being without ten Irish internationals, and they raced into a 12-0 after just ten minutes as they punished some sloppy play by a Benetton side who struggled to get a grip.

A chip from full-back Mike Haley down the left was not controlled by his opposite number Jayden Hayward and Darren Sweetnam pounced to score for the third league game in a row after getting a fortuitous bounce.

Close

Niall Scannell of Munster, 2, celebrates after scoring his side's first try during the Guinness PRO14 match against Benetton at Stadio Monigo in Treviso, Italy. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

Niall Scannell of Munster, 2, celebrates after scoring his side's first try during the Guinness PRO14 match against Benetton at Stadio Monigo in Treviso, Italy. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

Niall Scannell of Munster, 2, celebrates after scoring his side's first try during the Guinness PRO14 match against Benetton at Stadio Monigo in Treviso, Italy. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

Ben Healy pulled the conversion from the left but he made no mistake when Munster got over for their second try beside the posts when good work by Liam Coombes and Dan Goggin after a loose pass by centre Joaquin Riera saw scrum-half Nick McCarthy made good ground before setting up hooker Niall Scannell for his 12th try for the side.

Rugby Newsletter

Subscribe to 'The Collision' for a weekly update from Rugby Correspondent Ruaidhri O'Connor and the best writing from our expert team. Issued every Friday morning.

This field is required

That should have been the platform for Munster to wrap up the issue by the break, not least when tighthead Marco Riccioni, one of five Italian internationals released from the Six Nations squad for this game, was binned for a clumsy tackle on Scannell after 24 minutes.

But it was Benetton who stepped up a gear and took control and they got back in the game two minutes later when good offloading led to out-half Tommaso Allan and Hayward sending winger Angelo Esposito away down the right and he escaped Sweetnam’s poor tackle to score.

Allan wasn’t able to convert but he pulled back a penalty after 33 minutes from in front of the posts and with Munster just unable to get their hands on the ball.

Benetton finished the half with 52% possession and they cut the gap to the minimum just before the break when Allan landed a penalty from 40 metres after Scannell was nailed in possession by No.8 Toa Halafihi and Riccioni to lead 12-11 at the interval.

Munster struggled to get on top after the restart with both sides opting to endlessly put boot to ball, but Healy finally got their first score in 44 minutes when he extended their lead with a penalty from 22 metres on the left.

Both sides emptied their benches with the game hanging in the balance going into the final quarter with Benetton squandering a great chance when Riera didn’t utilise an overlap out wide after a break from deep by lock Federico Ruzza.

A mistake by full-back Haley when he carried a kick from Riera into touch presented Benetton with an attacking lineout inside the 22 after 68 minutes but Jack O’Donoghue rescued the situation with an excellent steal.

Haley made amends two minutes later when he somehow managed to get under Tommaso Benvenuti and prevent him from grounding the ball in the left corner when it seemed inevitable that the winger was going to score their second try after they prised opened the Munster defence.

But the reprieve was short-lived for Munster as Benetton went wide from the resultant scrum and created an overlap and Hayward put Leonardo Sarto over in the right corner to edge them in front for the first time. Allan was unable to convert and that proved costly as Munster staged one final rally for Hanrahan to produce a moment of magic and snatch it at the death.

Scorers:

Benetton: A Esposito, L Sarto tries. T Allan 2 pens

Munster: D Sweetnam, N Scannell tries; B Helay con, pen; JJ Hanrahan drop.

TEAMS -

Benetton - J Hayward; A Esposito (L Sarto 61), J Riera, I Brex, T Benvenuti; T Allan, C Braley (L Petrozzi 58); T Gallo (N Quaglio 55), T Baravalle (C Els 52), M Riccioni (T Pasquali 61); I Herbst (E Snyman 52), F Ruzza; M Barbini (c), M Zuliani (T Pasquali 30-34) (A Sgarbi 71), T Halafihi (G Pettinelli 51).

Munster - M Haley; L Coombes, D Goggin, R Scannell, D Sweetnam (D de Allende 60); B Healy (JJ Hanrahan 58), N McCarthy; J Wycherley (J Loughman 51), N Scannell (K O’Byrne 58), S Archer (J Ryan 58); F Wycherley (T Ahern 70), B Holland (C); J O’Donoghue, C Cloete, G Coombes (T O’Donnell 46, HIA).

Referee - Andrea Piardi (Italy)


Most Watched





Privacy