Munster get welcome top four lift

Treviso 13 Munster 16: Improving Treviso pushed Munster all the way in yesterday’s Guinness Pro12 clash at Stadio Monigo but failed narrowly to secure a third victory in succession.
Munster get welcome top four lift

Instead, it was Anthony Foley’s side that emerged with a hard earned but most welcome four points to help them move up to sixth place, level on points with Edinburgh but with a game in hand, and four points away from a coveted top four place.

They could perhaps have done with Glasgow losing away to Newport Gwent Dragons and Edinburgh falling at home to Scarlets. Both of the Scottish sides also won narrowly, Glasgow 18-15 against Dragons and Edinburgh 24-23 against Scarlets, but there was some good news elsewhere for Foley’s men – Connacht’s impressive victory over Ospreys to continue setting the pace in the competition. That Ospreys defeat leaves the Welsh club down in eighth place, four points adrift of Munster who have a game in hand.

That extra game will give Munster hope of ultimately moving into the top four; they are now just four points behind fourth placed Ulster, who lost to Cardiff yesterday.

Munster head coach Anthony Foley was relieved at the win. “Underfoot conditions were appalling, it was a tough game and it was probably easier to play into the wind in the first half.

“Treviso didn’t do anything unexpected, they get access to territory through penalties and they have a very strong maul, if you’re not allowed to compete on the ground then you have to suck it and see. We just needed to keep on running hard at them and we came away with a couple of good tries for the effort. We needed to look after our own game, play off that platform and we got a couple of penalties through our scrum in the second half,” he said.

Yesterday’s game was a rugged affair played on a heavy pitch that churned up significantly after several hours of pre-match rain. Munster took the lead with a fine try from Gerhard van den Heever but relinquished it and trailed 7-5 at the break, Robert Barbieri levelling for the home side and Jayden Hayward kicking them ahead with the conversion.

Hayward stretched that out to five with a second half penalty but Francis Saili’s 58thminute try. Hayward restored the Treviso lead with a 63rd minute penalty goal before Ian Keatley responded twice with penalties to clinch the win despite having Dave Kilcoyne sent to the bin for the last three minutes.

Next up is Newport and Foley insists his side need to get back on a winning run after two losses before yesterday. “It’s important around this time of the year when you see the finishing line in sight. It’s very important now to get some results together, hopefully starting at Thomond Park next week with a massive crowd supporting us.”

TREVISO:

J Hayward; L Nitoglia, L Morisi, A Sgarbi capt, A Esposito; S Christie, A Lucchese; Alaberto De Marchi, L Bigi, S Ferrari, F Paulo, T Palmer, M Barbini, M Lazzaroni, R Barbieri.

Replacements:

D Budd for Barbieri (70), A De Marchi for Luccese (72), J Montauriol for Palmer (74), T Iannone for Nitoglia (79)

MUNSTER:

A Conway; D Sweetnam, F Saili, R Scannell, G Van den Heever; I Keatley, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, J Ryan, M Chisholm, B Holland capt, J O’Donoghue, D O’Callaghan, R Copeland.

Replacements:

T O’Donnell for Copeland (52), N Scannell for Sherry (56), D Foley for Chisholm (57), M Sagario for O’Donoghue (77).

Referee:

Ian Davies (Wales).

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