Munster finish European campaign with convincing win

Ronan O’Mahony scores twice against Treviso in man of the match performance

Francis Saili in action as Munster defeat Treviso 28-5 in Italy in the last round of European Champions Cup games. Photograph: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

Francis Saili in action as Munster defeat Treviso 28-5 in Italy in the last round of European Champions Cup games. Photograph: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

 

Treviso 5 Munster 28

Not to be another name on the their wall. That was the request and that’s what Munster head coach Anthony Foley got from his side against Treviso, a team still looking for their first victory of the season and having just arrived at their 25th consecutive defeat.

The focus for the Red Army – with no more chances to be involved in the quarter finals – was to finish the European campaign on a high. They wanted to avoid being another of the sides to fall in round six at Stadio Monigo, as happened to the Ospreys a year ago, and build momentum for the rest of the Pro12 season.

Mission accomplished by new Ireland selection CJ Stander and his companions with the home side never looking capable of spoiling Munster’s party for their 150th European Cup rugby game.

The Fields of Athenry was already the soundtrack after five minutes courtesy of the numerous Munster’s supporters who made Stadio Monigo look more like Thomond Park.

A line-out in Treviso’s 22 was won by Donnacha Ryan and after a quick maul, Conor Murray spots Ronan O’Mahony who manages to break the defender’s tackle easily and go right under the posts.

Just a few minutes later, Keith Earls intercepts a ball, but the possibility of a second quick try fades with a forward pass.

Comeback

Munster were in full control of the game in the first quarter and Dave Kilcoyne profited from a long sequence of play to score after the official revision by the TMO.

Inexplicably, the visitors decided to relax for the rest of the half, allowing a comeback by the home side.

Billy Holland got a yellow card for a professional foul and from the penalty James Ambrosini found touch in the corner. Treviso’s forwards set their ideal weapon of the rolling maul and cross the line with flanker Marco Lazzaroni scoring. Jayden Hayward hits the post with the conversion and at half time Munster were led by nine points.

“There was a bit of lack of control in those moments and we kind of invited them to put pressure on us,” Foley said. “We were one man down and we know they have a pretty strong maul.”

Inspired

The men in red were back in fighting form in the second half and two tries gave Munster a deserved bonus point victory.

Stander crossed the line at the beginning but French referee Alexandre Ruiz reviewed the action with the TMO after having awarded the five points and changed his mind because of a knock-on.

At 50 minutes, Murray, one of the most inspired of his side on the day, took a good dummy to ease past Treviso’s defence from a line-out, while O’Mahony crowned his man of the match performance with a second try in the corner. Ian Keatley was also in good form with the boot for a final score of 5-28.

“Our season has seen ups and downs, and this has been disappointing. We wanted to produce such a performance, which follows the one against Stade Français and takes us another step on to where we want to be,” Foley said.

“Next week, we will be back again in Italy, in Parma against Zebre on Saturday. They have a changed coaching staff and have been in a good form both in Pro12 and Challenge Cup, so that will be another examination for the team.”

Foley will also lose some of his big names as the Six Nations kicks off.

“There’s no important injury after today, and that’s a good thing. Of course, some of the guys will be involved with Ireland, but that was the same during the World Cup and some of our new players stepped up during those months and we hope they will do the same now. ”

Scoring sequence: 5 mins: R O’Mahony try, I Keatley con 0-7; 16 mins: D Kilcoyne try, I Keatley con 0-14; 37 mins: M Lazzaroni try 5-14. Halftime: 5-14. 50 mins: C Murray try, I Keatley con 5-21; 66 mins: R O’Mahony try, I Keatley 5-28.

TREVISO: Hayward, Pratichetti, Bacchin, Sgarbi, Ragusi, Ambrosini, Lucchese, Zanusso, Gega, Ferrari, Fuser, Montauriol, Lazzaroni, Zanni, Steyn. Replacements: Christie for Bacchin (63 mins), McLean for Ambrosini (67 mins), Giazzon for Gega (48 mins), Manu for Ferrari (48 mins), Palmer for Montauriol (48 mins), Barbini for Lazzaroni (63 mins).

MUNSTER: Zebo, Earls, Saili, R. Scannell, R. O’Mahony, Keatley, Murray, Kilcoyne, Sherry, J Ryan, Foley, D. Ryan, B. Holland, O’Donnell, Stander. Replacements: Van den Heever for R Scannell (68 mins), O’Leary for Murray (73 mins), Cronin for Kilcoyne (48 mins), N Scannell for Sherry (63 mins), Chisholm for Foley (68 mins), Copeland for B Holland (63 mins), O’Donoghue for Stander (54 mins). Sin Bin: B Holland (36 mins).

Referee: Alex Ruiz (France).

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