Munster grab maximum points

Date published: November 14 2015

Simon Zebo's try four minutes from time helped Munster match Leicester with a bonus-point win to open their Champions Cup account as they downed Treviso 32-7 at Thomond Park.

In dreadful conditions, running rugby was always going to be at a premium, and with the dominant scrum and powerful ball carriers, Munster were able control territory.

They had a first try after just four minutes through BJ Botha, but led just 10-7 at the break as Abraham Steyn replied with a chargedown try.

With the wind at their backs after the break, CJ Stander powered over to stretch the lead before Duncan Casey grabbed the third.

Zebo then finished off the job in the final minutes to secure all five points before next week's trip to Stade Français.

It took just four minutes for Munster to score their first try. After Luke McLean had knocked the ball on in the difficult conditions, Munster were able to set themselves up in Treviso territory.

While their initial maul was eventually stopped, they were able to recycle and the Treviso defence eventually succumbed, allowing Botha to power over from close range. Keatley converted despite the strong wind to make it 7-0.

The South African prop, who signed a contract extension this week, almost had his second after eight minutes, but knocked on as he went over. Still, Munster were completely dominant, making ground at will and looking far too strong for their opponents.

The first quarter of an hour was all Munster, but against the run of play Treviso drew level. Keatley was charged down in his 22 by Steyn who then nudged the ball forward with his boot and finished acrobatically before the ball went dead in-goal. Jayden Hayward converted to level the scores.

Parity didn't last long, as Treviso knocked on from the restart, before conceding a scrum penalty which Keatley slotted to put Munster back in front.

The swirling wind was causing Treviso all sorts of problems, and when Tommaso Iannone couldn't deal with one high kick, Keith Earls was almost in. He was just hauled down and the chance eventually went begging when Mark Chisholm knocked on in midfield.

However despite their territorial and possession dominance, Munster led just 10-7 at the break, although they were able to stretch the lead to six early in the second half when Steyn was penalised for not rolling away.

And they finally had their second try on 55 minutes, with skipper Stander going low and diving over after more good work at close quarters from the home forwards. Keatley's conversion was pulled wide but Munster still led 18-7.

The bonus point looked set to elude them as they were kept at bay by the Treviso defence, but a powerful maul 11 minutes from time allowed Casey to dot down and get them back on track for maximum points.

The final score came late on as Zebo finished off more good work from the Munster pack in the tight, with the space opened up for him to dive over on the left. Keatley converted to seal the win.

The scorers:

For Munster:
Botha, Stander, Casey, Zebo
Cons: Keatley 3
Pens: Keatley 2

For Treviso:
Con: Hayward
Yellow Card: Muccignat

The teams:

Munster: 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Denis Hurley, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander (c), 7 Jack O'Donoghue, 6 Dave O'Callaghan, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Dave Kilcoyne
Replacements: 16 Duncan Casey, 17 James Cronin, 18 John Ryan, 19 Dave Foley, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Tomas O'Leary, 22 Rory Scannell, 23 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino

Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Jayden Hayward, 12 Enrico Bacchin, 11 Tommaso Iannone, 10 James Ambrosini, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Abraham Steyn, 7 Alessandro Zanni (c), 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Jean-François Montauriol, 4 Rudolph Duncan Naude, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Ornel Gega, 1 Matteo Zanusso
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Matteo Muccignat, 18 Filippo Filippetto, 19 Dean Budd, 20 Marco Barbini, 21 Andrea De Marchi, 22 Chris Smylie, 23 Sam Christie

Venue: Thomond Park
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant Referees: Tim Wigglesworth (England), Paul Dix (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)