Munster power on at the top
October 22, 2010
Keith Earls was on the scoresheet for Munster
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Munster kept alive their charge at the top of the Magners League with a bonus-point 39-13 win over Benetton Treviso on Friday night.
Three converted tries from James Coughlan, Damien Varley and David Wallace helped the hosts take a 27-3 interval lead, and efforts in the second half from Keith Earls and Mike Sherry sealed the bonus point.
Munster's captain for the night, Ronan O'Gara, had a 100% kicking return - tallying up 14 points from six successful kicks. His opposite number Kris Burton kicked two penalties and converted Ludovico Nitoglia's try.
Ireland prop Marcus Horan became the 12th player to join Munster's injury list earlier this week but the province have strength in depth and this was shown in a robust first half display. O'Gara kicked a fourth-minute penalty from just outside the 22, after referee David Jones pinged the Treviso scrum. Good work from the visiting forwards in the loose set up Burton for a well-struck levelling penalty from the left.
Munster's response was swift. They turned down a kickable penalty before a cleanly-won lineout and a flurry of forward drives led to Peter Stringer sending No.8 Coughlan over from close range. Munster's effective scrum put Treviso under considerable pressure at times, and referee Jones reached for his yellow card on two occasions, sin-binning props Franco Sbaraglini and Augusto Allori for repeated offences.
Sbaraglini popped up out of a retreating Treviso scrum, in the 20th minute, and Munster used their numerical advantage to work a lineout maul from which hooker Varley sprinted in for his try. After Munster had knocked on from a missed Burton penalty, Treviso made little ground from a five-metre scrum and Wian du Preez and John Hayes combined to win a clearing penalty.
Allori's sin-binning for pulling down a scrum saw Munster set up camp in the visitors' 22. Man-of-the-Match Wallace touched down as Treviso's defence gave way, and O'Gara followed up with the conversion and a late penalty. Burton closed the gap with his second penalty, but when O'Gara dived to scoop up a loose ball in midfield, Munster quickly turned defence into attack as Wallace galloped towards the 22 and linked with Earls who made it over in the left corner.
Treviso enjoyed a purple patch around the hour mark, helped by du Preez's sin-binning for a scrum offence. Two minutes later, the Italians flooded out to the right where the pacy Brendan Williams passed for Nitoglia to nip past Earls and score out wide. But normal service was resumed in injury-time when a reverse pass from Duncan Williams sent fellow replacement Sherry darting towards the try-line and neither Williams or Nitoglia could stop him from registering try number five.
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