Planet Rugby

Five points for Munster

16th January 2010 15:25

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SKY_MOBILE Keith Earls playing for Munster

Two tries: Keith Earls

Munster are in pole position to finish top of Pool One in the Heineken Cup after scoring a bonus-point in their 44-7 thrashing of Treviso at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo on Saturday.

The former champions lived up to their status as tournament favourites as they ran six tries past their hosts, with Keith Earls grabbing two.

Denis Hurley, Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul Warwick and Donnacha Ryan also scored while Ronan O'Gara added twelve points in an emphatic victory.

Alessandro Zanni grabbed an interception score but the Italian champions never looked likely to win this one.

The result leaves Munster seven points clear at the top of Pool One, ahead of Northampton who play on Sunday.

Treviso had proved tough opponents in Italy having beaten Perpignan in the opening round of the group stage and pushed Northampton hard.

However, from the moment Marius Goosen missed their first scoring chance with a penalty on two minutes, they were always struggling to remain in the game.

Munster took control of the tie after scoring three tries in the space of eight minutes.

A break by Earls was followed by Paul O'Connell's pass to Hurley who ran in for his first Heineken Cup try, in the fourth minute.

Earls was then rewarded for his earlier break when he was on the end of Doug Howlett's attack from deep to double the lead on six minutes.

The third try followed swiftly as the ball moved through several pairs of hands before O'Callaghan passed to Niall Ronan before staggering to his feet to receive the return pass to score on eleven minutes.

O'Gara had missed his first two conversion attempts but this proved to be third time lucky before adding a penalty that opened a comfortable 20-0 lead after just sixteen minutes.

Treviso had a brief spell with the upper hand and looked effective in the scrum. That saw scrum-half Simon Picone go close before his opposite number Tomas O'Leary had his pass intercepted by flanker Zanni who had the legs to run in from halfway.

Goosen converted to reduce the lead to 20-7 but Munster got back on track before half-time.

O'Gara kicked a second penalty before his pass saw Warwick break clear, kick ahead and beat two defenders to the bouncing ball beyond the try line. That wrapped up the bonus point for Munster, six minutes before half-time.

Even at 30-7 down, Treviso refused to buckle and put the wraps on Munster for 20 minutes of the second half as the game slowed. However Jean de Villiers finally broke the second-half deadlock when his burst allowed Earls to grab a second try. O'Gara converted for 37-7 on 63 minutes.

Damien Varley thought he had scored his first Heineken Cup try but was ruled to have knocked on over the line but the replacement was involved in the game's final attack that saw Ryan touch down for their sixth try.

The Scorers

For Treviso:

Try:
Zanni
Con:Goosen

For Munster:
Tries:
Hurley, Earls 2, O'Callaghan, Warwick, Ryan,
Cons:O'Gara 3, Warwick
Pens:O'Gara 2

The teams:

Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Andrew Vilk, 13 Alberto Sgarbi, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Benjamin de Jager, 10 Marius Goosen, 9 Simon Picone, 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 Marco Filippucci, 21 Silvio Orlando, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Tobias Botes.

Munster: 15 Paul Warwick, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Denis Hurley, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Tomas O'Leary, 8 David Wallace, 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Alan Quinlan, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 John Hayes, 2 Denis Fogarty, 1 Wian du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 Julien Brugnaut, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Donnacha Ryan, 20 James Coughlan, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Lifeimi Mafi, 23 Ian Dowling.

Venue: Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Referee: Chris White (England)

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