Munster book home semi-final in Pro12 with bonus win

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

Munster book home semi-final in Pro12 with bonus win

Munster's Simon Zebo runs in for his side's second try against Treviso

MUNSTER secured a home semi-final in the Guinness Pro12,  thanks to a comprehensive 34-14, bonus point victory over Treviso at Stadio Monigo on Saturday evening.

Munster scored five tries in all, with two for winger Darren Sweetnam, to guarantee a home semi-final in the Pro12 with a game to spare.

Munster complete their programme of regular season fixtures against Connacht at Thomond Park on Saturday next, 5.15pm.

Munster’s home semi-final in the Pro12, against opponents yet to be confirmed, will take place at Thomond Park on Saturday, May 20, 6.15pm.

After a slow start to the game in Parma, Munster took a firm grip on proceedings when Darren Sweetnam and Simon Zebo darted over for tries in the 25th and 32nd minutes.

Out-half Tyler Bleyendaal converted the latter try and added a penalty goal shortly before half-time to help Munster into a significant 15-0 half-time lead.

Munster lost two players to unfortunate injuries inside the opening quarter as both Dave O’Callaghan and Ronan O’Mahony were forced off the pitch. They were replaced by CJ Stander and Alex Wootton respectively.

Treviso full-back David Odiete made the most of some slack tackling from Munster to bag a crucial try for the Italian side nine minutes after the restart. McKinley’s conversion reduced Munster’s lead to 15-7.

However, if the visitors were feeling more nervy as the game entered the final quarter, Alex Wootton’s try, created by a smashing long pass from Francis Saili, eased any concerns.

And a few minutes later Munster secured the bonus point when Jack O’Donoghue rampaged through the Treviso cover to score the visitors fourth try. 

Sweetnam scored his second and Munster’s fifth try of the night in the 70th minute when he beat the Italian side’s defence to his own kick ahead. Bleyendaal’s conversion made it 34-7.

Treviso did manage a second try late on through Jean-Francois Montauriol.

SCORERS: Munster: Darren Sweetnam two tries, Simon Zebo, Alex Wootton, Jack O’Donoghue  try each, Tyler Bleyendaal pen, three cons. Treviso: David Odete, Jean-Francois Montauriol try each, Ian McKinley two cons.

BENETTON TREVISO: David Odiete; Angelo Esposito, Tommaso Benvenuti, Alberto Sgarbi, Luca Sperandio; Ian McKinley, Edoardo Gori; Federico Zani, Luca Bigi, Simone Ferrari, Marco Fuser, Dean Budd (capt), Francesco Minto, Braam Steyn, Robert Barbieri. Replacements: Davide Giazzon, Alberto Porolli, Tiziano Pasquali, Jean-Francois Montauriol, Marco Lazzaroni, Giorgio Bronzini, Tito Tebaldi, Andrea Pratichetti.

MUNSTER: Simon Zebo; Darren Sweetnam, Francis Saili, Jaco Taute, Ronan O'Mahony; Tyler Bleyendaal, Duncan Williams; James Cronin, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer, Darren O'Shea, Donnacha Ryan, Dave O'Callaghan, Conor Oliver, Jack O'Donoghue. Replacements: Kevin O'Byrne, Brian Scott, Rory Burke, Fineen Wycherley, CJ Stander, Angus Lloyd, Ian Keatley, Alex Wootton.

REFEREE: Ian Davies (Wales)