Centre Chris Farrell impressed for Munster in their PRO14 opening night win over Benetton Rugby
CLINICAL Munster kicked off their new Guinness PRO14 season with a convincing 34-3 bonus point victory over a disappointing Benetton Rugby side at Musgrave Park on Friday night.
Munster laid the foundation for this runaway victory, secured before an official attendance of 7,854, in the opening period.
Last season’s PRO12 finalists ran in five tries in a terrific first half showing to lead the Italian visitors 27-3 at half-time.
Second row Jean Kleyn, out-half Tyler Bleyendaal and Darren Sweetnam touched down inside the opening 26 minutes. Man of the Match Andrew Conway helped create the bonus point try for winger Alex Wootton with a terrific catch and break, before the full-back bagged the home side’s fifth try five minutes before half-time.
Hooker Mike Sherry made his first appearance for Munster in a competitive fixture for 15 months when introduced as a 43rd minute replacement.
Second-row Kleyn added Munster’s sixth try soon after, which Bleyendaal converted to seal an impressive victory.
The only down side for Munster was an unfortunate knee injury to replacement Dan Goggin late on.
Munster have now lost just once on the opening weekend since 2009, and that by a single point to Edinburgh in 2014
Munster have won their last 10 clashes with Benetton in all tournaments with the Italians' most recent
SCORERS: Munster: Jean Kleyn two tries, Tyler Bleyendaal try, two cons, Darren Sweetnam, Alex Wootton, Andrew Conway try each. Benetton Rugby: Marty Banks pen.
MUNSTER: Andrew Conway, Darren Sweetnam, Chris Farrell, Jaco Taute, Alex Wootton; Tyler Bleyendaal (capt), Duncan Williams; Liam O'Connor, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland, Sean O'Connor, Tommy O'Donnell, Jack O'Donoghue. Replacements used: Mike Sherry, Brian Scott, Ciaran Parker, Fineen Wycherley, Robin Copeland, James Hart, Ian Keatley, Dan Goggin.
BENETTON RUGBY: Ian McKinley; Angelo Esposito, Tommaso Benvenuti, Tommaso Allan, Edoardo Gori; Marty Banks, Tito Tebaldi; Federico Zani, Luca Bigi, Simone Ferrari, Dean Budd (capt), Marco Lazzaroni, Sebastian Negri, Whetu Douglas.
Replacements: Engjel Makelara, Cherif Traore, Marco Riccioni, Federico Ruzza, Braam Steyn, Giorgio Bronzini, Alberto Sgarbi, Andrea Buondonno.
REFEREE: Ian Davies (Wales)