Munster 32-7 Benetton Treviso: Zebo stars as Munster win
Simon Zebo’s late try earns Munster a bonus point against Treviso in Champions Cup opener in Limerick
BJ Botha, CJ Stander and Duncan Casey touched down the hosts other three scores with Ian Keatley’s 12 points from the tee completing their total
Braam Steyn crossed the whitewash for visitors only score with superb solo effort
A late try by Man of the Match Simon Zebo earned Munster a bonus point as they beat Treviso 32-7 in their opening Champions’ Cup game in Limerick.
BJ Botha rumbled over on four minutes for Munster with fellow South African Braam Steyn replying with a superb solo effort for the visitors.
Treviso, predicted by many to be near no-hopers in the competition, produced some resolute defence but they were eventually worn down after the break as captain CJ Stander got Munster’s second try of the day.
Substitute hooker Duncan Casey and Zebo then added the further two tries to make sure of the win which puts Munster joint top with in Pool Four on five points.
The home side enjoyed a rapid start and scrum-half Conor Murray almost snuck in from close range before prop Botha got in despite scrum-half James Ambrosini’s best efforts.
But Treviso stood firm in the face of a fervent start from the hosts and gradually gained a foothold in the game and got a well-earned equalising try on 16 minutes.
Big number 8 Steyn charged down an attempted clearance kick and dribbled to the left of the posts before acrobatically dotting down just before the ball went dead.
Jayden Hayward made it 7-7 in a surprisingly competitive opening quarter, although Keatley responded with a penalty three minutes later.
Injuries began to hit both sides as Treviso lost captain Alessanndro Zanni to concussion, while Munster hooker Mike Sherry had his first foray into European rugby in over two years brought to a premature end by a cruel knee injury.
With conditions worsening, Keatley’s place kick on 48 minutes was followed by Stander’s unconverted try seven minutes later as the game’s other tryscoring number eight did well to out-muscle Matteo Zanusso and Ludovico Nitoglia from close range.
And Munster went for the direct approach once more for their third score of the evening as Ryan won a line-out near the left corner and Casey piled over on the end of a well-executed forward drive.
Keatley converted and further pressure from the increasingly dominant home forwards saw Matteo Muccignat sin-binned for not rolling away.
A minute later, Zebo was handed a simple finish to see the hosts past 30 points and grab a bonus point. Keatley added the extras to round off the scoring and seal a promising-looking for a 25-point win.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Munster: Simon Zebo
The Cork-born back, 25, was impressive all night and got a well-earned try for his efforts. Fresh from World Cup duty with Ireland, the winger or full-back will be looking to build on a strong start in Europe from both a personal and team perspective.
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
Date: Saturday, November 14
Venue: Thomond Park
Kick-off: 17:15 GMT
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant Referees: Tim Wigglesworth (England), Paul Dix (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)