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Munster hit the summit

17th October 2009 15:23

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Paul Warwick Munster

Munster's first of four: Paul Warwick

Munster survived an early scare at Thomond Park before picking up all five European points in what became an emphatic 41-10 win over Treviso.

The improving Italian outfit, who shocked the rugby world by upsetting Perpignan last week, were in fact leading 10-0 in Limerick and looked strong at one stage.

But Munster then turned on the style with scores from Paul Warwick, Ian Dowling (2), Denis Leamy, Denis Fogarty, David Wallace and Jean de Villiers sending them above the Catalans and Saints.

Thomond Park fell eerily quiet as Treviso took that early lead thanks to tries from Australian winger Brendan Williams and England Sevens captain Andy Vilk.

But Munster hit back with their seven tries actually flattering them slightly.

Treviso had forced the issue early on and Marius Goosen missed a second-minute penalty attempt.

Robust defending from Dion Kingi and his pack helped keep Munster out and the home fans were stunned when Williams grabbed the opening try.

Centre Alberto Sgarbi barged his way forward in midfield and Williams' well-judged chip and chase heaped pressure on the Munster rearguard.

From the resulting scrum, Treviso turned the screw, won a penalty and a swift delivery from scrum-half Fabio Semenzato sent Williams beyond Marcus Horan and in at the left corner.

Goosen failed to convert but his opposite number Ronan O'Gara was also struggling with the boot, landing just one of his three first-half efforts.

Doug Howlett rampaged forward, making ground with two hand-offs, but just when Munster were gathering serious momentum, Vilk got back well to touch down an O'Gara grubber kick.

Vilk showed he was equally adept in attack when he gathered a kick through from Williams, shipped a tackle from Lifeimi Mafi and slid over the Munster line.

After a limping Howlett saved a certain try at the other end, Munster built for a decisive crescendo before half-time.

The home pack grunted forward and Warwick took full advantage of a mismatch with Treviso hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini to round him and score to the right of the posts.

O'Gara's successful conversion closed the gap to three points and Munster moved 12-10 ahead in first-half injury-time.

O'Gara turned down a shot at the posts, taking a quick tap and after seven phases, Warwick's steepling kick over to the left was brilliantly juggled and dotted down by replacement Dowling.

The second period was effectively all Munster, beginning with Leamy's try from close range just two minutes in.

Donncha O'Callaghan, who came to the fore in the lineout, secured possession for Leamy's try and also picked off a lineout steal for Fogarty's 53rd-minute score.

Notching the bonus-point try, the hooker profited from an intricate passing move between de Villiers, Alan Quinlan and the increasingly influential Warwick to power over in the left corner.

O'Gara's kicking was not up to his usual high standard but Munster, now rampant, did not need the benefit of conversions. With Treviso chasing the game, Wallace, Dowling and de Villiers exploited the gaps in a tiring Italian defence and picked off three more tries.

The scorers:

For Munster:
Tries: Warwick, Dowling 2, Leamy, Fogarty, Wallace, De Villiers
Con: O'Gara 3

For Treviso:
Tries: Williams, Vilk

Munster: 15 Paul Warwick, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Lifeimi Mafi, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Tomas O'Leary, 8 Denis Leamy, 7 David Wallace, 6 Alan Quinlan, 5 Paul O'Connell (capt), 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Denis Fogarty, 1 Marcus Horan.
Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 Julien Brugnaut, 18 Darragh Hurley, 19 Mick O'Driscoll, 20 Niall Ronan, 21 Nick Williams, 22 Peter Stringer, 23 Ian Dowling.

Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Brendan Williams, 13 Alberto Sgarbi, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Andrew Vilk, 10 Marius Goosen, 9 Fabio Semenzato, 8 Dion Kingi, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Benjamin Vermaak, 5 Cornelius van Zyl, 4 Antonio Pavanello, 3 Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Diego Vidal, 17 Augusto Allori, 18 Pedro di Santo, 19 Enrico Pavanello, 20 Robert Barbieri, 21 Marco Filippucci, 22 Tobias Botes, 23 Fraser Waters.

Referee: Jérôme Garces (France)
Assistant referees: Patrick Pechambert (France), Jérôme Lamirand (France)
Television match official: Daniel Gillet (France)
Assessor: Paul Bridgman (England)

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