DFP Header Area

Share this MunsterRugby.ie page

Match Pages - Match Information

Current standing

Match Pages - Current Standing

Head to head

Match Pages - Head to Head

Last time

Match Pages - Last Time

Recent form

Match Pages - Form Guide

Season so far

Match Page - Season so far

Munster Rugby E-zine

Sign up to the e-zine to get all the latest news directly to your inbox from Munster Rugby

Treviso Not To Be Taken Lightly

January 7, 2012 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

Long gone are the days when four points from the visit of Benetton Treviso would have been seen as a ‘gimme’ and tonight’s encounter with the Italian side will provide Munster with as tough a test as they’ll face all season.

Franco Smith's side have won three of their last four games away from home and one of those wins came in Ravenhill where Munster came up short last time out.

And the last time these two sides met was in Stadio Monigo last February where a try from Ganzalo Padro and fourteen points from the boot of Willem de Waal gave the home side a 19-18 victory. It was Munster's first loss to an Italian side, the same side who frightened the lives out of them back in October 2009 when they scored two tries to race into a 10 point lead in a Heineken Cup Pool game.

So Thomond park Stadium will hold no fears for Treviso who bring with them a near enough full strength side that includes a clutch of Italian internationals among them Antonio Pavanello, Luke McLean, Franco Sbaraglini, the classy Alessandro Zanni and one of the leading RaboDirect PRO12 points scorers Kris Burton.

Not that Munster doesn't have a few thoroughbreds in it's stable. Paul O'Connell, Ronan O'Gara and the rest of their internationals are  back after the Christmas break. Peter O'Mahony's back in after missing a few games because of a jaw injury and the youthful theme of this Munster selection is continued through Conor Murray, Simon Zebo, Stephen Archer and Danny Barnes and though Keith Earls could hardly be classed a veteran at 24 he has nearly 70 caps.  

Coach Tony McGahan has again rung the changes but that's because of outside factors as much as anything else. It has to be anticipated that, by and large it's this group he'll be relying over the course of the next two Heineken Cup weekend's and they couldn't have a better preparation that what Treviso have planned for them tonight.

Munster: Denis Hurley; Johne Murphy, Keith Earls, Lifeimi Mafi, Simon Zebo; Ronan O'Gara, Conor Murray; Wian du Preez, Damen Varley, BJ Botha; Donnacha Ryan, Paul O'Connell capt; Peter O'Mahony, Niall Ronan, James Coughlan. Replacements: Denis Fogarty, Marcus Horan, Stephen Archer, Donncha O'Callaghan, Billy Holland, Tomas O'Leary, Ian Keatley, Danny Barnes.

Treviso:  Luke McLean, Ludovico Nitoglia, Tommaso Benvenuti, Alberto Sgarbi, Brendan Williams; Kristopher Burton, Tobias Botes; Michele Rizzo, Franco Sbaraglini, Lorenzo Cittadini; Antonio Pavanello capt, Corniel Van Zyl;  Gonzalo Padrò, Alessandro Zanni, Manoa Vosawai. Replacements: Diego Vidal, Matteo Muccignat, Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, Valerio Bernabò, Enrico Pavanello, Simon Picone, Edoardo Gori, Alberto Di Bernardo

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU).

Munster - Match Page - Lineups - Preview

Munster Rugby E-zine

Sign up to the e-zine to get all the latest news directly to your inbox from Munster Rugby

Munster Back On Track

January 8, 2012 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

Munster put the disappointment of defeat in Belfast firmly behind them with a 29-11 RaboDirect PRO12 win over Benetton Treviso at Thomond Park Stadium, a bonus point victory that gives them a great morale boost as they head into the Heineken Cup.

It was a very mixed bag of a performance but nevertheless they'll rightly take more positives than negatives from a game that saw them lead 10-6 at the break and then run in three second half tries against an Italian side who made them fight every inch of the way.

In fact the visitors will consider themselves unlucky not to have been closer at the break. In added time they forced a penalty that Kris Burton saw rebound off an upright and that after Munster had to scramble in defence to prevent a try when Treviso had turned desperate defence inside their own 22 into a scoring opportunity.

Then, when Keith Earls brushed through Burton's feeble effort of a  tackle to score under the posts in the 49th minute, Treviso's response was almost immediate, their big number 8 Manoa Vosawai getting on the end of a forward maul to score out wide.

And it remained a tight, five point game until Man of the Match, the impressive James Coughlan peeled around right for his side's third try, the TMO called in to confirm – Conor Murray's similar request moments earlier denied –  with Munster's bonus point try coming five minutes from time courtesy of Simon Zebo.

Munster did cough up a number of their own line-out ball and as would be expected given the composition of the Treviso pack there were times when they were discommoded at set scrum but they did create more opportunities than heretofore and the constant changing in personnel over the past number of weeks sounds like a reasonable explanation for those deficiencies.

On an individual basis, Zebo illuminated the opening half with one searing break, Peter O'Mahony showed no ill effects following his enforced break through injury, Lifeimi Mafi, afforded more space than he normally is, posed a constant threat, Damien Varley carried strongly and with intent while it's reported that the knee injury that forced Niall Ronan to retire shortly after he'd scored a 23rd minute try – created by a sumptuous off load from Mafi – isn't likely to rule him out of next week's game with Castres Olympique. 

Paul O'Connell gave another commanding performance alongside the equally industrious Donnacha Ryan and Donncha O'Callaghan was all business when he came on for Ronan, his first action being to pinch a Treviso front of lineout ball and later involved in race with winger Nitoglia for a touchdown, a contest, in fairness, he was always going to lose. 

Afterwards the Man of the Match accepted that there were things to be worked on. "Look, we know that performance wasn't without flaws. We knew we'd be up against it, they're a good side and kept going right to the end.

"I suppose we can look at the changes we've had week to week but the point is we coped with that," Coughlan said, " got the result. It's points in the bank, we've won no title but we're in a better place now than at the start of the day in terms of this league and it gives us the type of start to what are two huge weeks for us."

Munster: D Hurley; J Murphy (D Barnes, 63), K Earls, L Mafi, S Zebo; R O'Gara (I Keatley 76), C Murray (T O'Leary 63); W du Preez (M Horan 63), D Varley (J Fogarty 65), BJ Botha (S Archer 65); D Ryan, P O'Connell (B Holland 75); P O'Mahony, N Ronan (D O'Callaghan 34), J Coughlan.

Benetton Treviso: L McClean; L Nitoglia (A Di Bernardo 73), T Benvenuti, A Sgarbi, B Williams; K Burton (E Gori 57), T Botes; M Rizzo, F Sbaraglini (D Vidal 64), L Cittadini (I Rouyet 64); A Pavanello (V Bernabo 64), C Van Zyl (E Pavanello 70); G Padro, A Zanni, M Vosawai (S Picone 70).

Referee: N Owens (Wales)

Match Pages - Summary

Match Page - Timeline

Match page - Match Stats

Match Page - Lineups

Munster Rugby E-zine

Sign up to the e-zine to get all the latest news directly to your inbox from Munster Rugby