Wednesday 17 July 2019

Stuttering Munster do just enough to keep dreams of home semi-final alive


Ian Keatley is tackled by a Treviso player
Ian Keatley is tackled by a Treviso player
Ian Keatley, Munster, is tackled by Luca Morisi, Benetton Treviso
Francesco Minto, Benetton Treviso, is tackled by Tommy O'Donnell, Munster
Andrew Smith, Munster, is tackled by Enrico Bacchin, left, and Luca Morisi, Benetton Treviso
Munster's Donnacha Ryan, left, and Keith Earls following their side's victory


Munster did enough to secure the bonus-point win which keeps them on track for a home semi-final in the Pro12 but there was little to suggest at Irish Independent Park yesterday that they are poised to lift their first league crown since 2011.

The battle for home advantage will be up for grabs the weekend after next when Ulster host Anthony Foley's men and Munster will go into that penultimate game second in the table with a one-point advantage.

At times yesterday in the opening half they looked like they would chalk up a huge score but Treviso, themselves battling it out at the bottom of the table with Zebre for a Champions Cup spot, doggedly kept fighting back despite Munster hammering them in the scrum.

Donnacha Ryan completed his first 80 minutes of competitive rugby in 13 months without any problems on a day when Tommy O'Donnell celebrated his 100th appearance for Munster with one of their four tries.

Munster led by 20-7 at the interval having run in three tries, with Ian Keatley settling them with a fourth-minute penalty from 25 metres.

Simon Zebo was at the end of a seven-phase move to score for his eighth try of the campaign. CJ Stander also got his eighth try of this season's Pro12 after 19 minutes.

Treviso hit back for a try after 25 minutes with Marco Fuser gaining possession from a lineout and Kiwi No 8 Matthew Luamanu getting the touchdown from a good drive.

Another New Zealander, fullback Jayden Hayward, landed the conversion from the right to make it 13-7.

But Munster were rewarded on the stroke of half-time when O'Mahony won a lineout on the right and Conor Murray popped a superb pass for O'Donnell to mark his milestone with an excellent try.

Keatley converted to make it 20-7 at the interval but Treviso struck two minutes after the restart when outhalf Sam Christie broke to set up centre Andrea Pratichetti for a try.

Hayward converted and suddenly the gap was back to 20-14. Munster, with their dominance in the scrum becoming more prominent, got the bonus point 13 minutes from the end as Munster turned the screw and referee Ben Whitehouse awarded a penalty try as yet another set-piece collapsed.

But it was Treviso who finished out the scoring when Simone Ragusi made the most of an overlap to score their third try in the right corner.

Scorers - Munster: S Zebo, CJ Stander, T O'Donnell try each, penalty try;

I Keatley 2 cons, 2 pens. Treviso: M Luamanua, A Pratichetti try each; J Hayward 2 cons.

Munster: F Jones (R O'Mahony 52); K Earls, A Smith, R Scannell, S Zebo; I Keatley, C Murray (D Williams 71); D Kilcoyne (J Ryan 71), D Casey (E Guinazu 56), S Archer (BJ Botha 53); B Holland (Donncha O'Callaghan 71), D Ryan; P O'Mahony (Dave O'Callaghan 71), T O'Donnell, CJ Stander.

Treviso: J Hayward; S Ragusi (J Ambrosini 78, 5), L Morisi, A Pratichetti, L Nitoglia; S Christie, E Gori; M Zanusso (J Novak 67), D Giazzon (A Anae 61), R Harden (R Acosta 61); M Fuser (M Lazzaroni 58), C Van Zyl (M Swanepoel 71); P Derbyshire, F Minto, M Luamanu (N Cattini 77).

Referee: B Whitehouse (WRU)

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