The West Terrace Match Officials were present and correct prior to kick-off at a cold Thomond Park. We could have done with a few more folks to join us for their body heat but we survived and were entertained with plenty of action as Munster kept up their recent try scoring form. The game was not televised so there was no official TMO but we provided our assistance to the officials when there was a high tackle, offside, knock-on or other infringement by the visitors!
Although Treviso opened the scoring with a penalty kicked by Ian McKinley after just seven minutes that was their only score of the day. Missing 11 players to the Italian Autumn internationals and another nine through injury they were no match for a strong Munster team. It is great to see the depth and competition for places in the Munster team at the moment and those selected for this game wanted to put their hands up for selection for the tough sequence of games coming in December and January.
Munster took control of the game on 16’ with their first scrum after having equalised a few minutes earlier.
From that scrum they won a penalty which was kicked for touch. Jack O’Donoghue secured the lineout and the maul was formed and drove for the line. The ball was moved out to midfield where Jaco Taute was held up over the line to win a 5m scrum.
The Munster pack continued their dominance to drive Treviso back, Robin Copeland was credited with the touchdown which Tyler converted to make it 10-3.
Five minutes later we were wishing for the big screen when Andrew Conway raised his arm in triumph and we wondered what we had missed over on the far side. The referee consulted with his assistant and the try was awarded. Apparently, the chip through had bounced back off the corner flag, Conway chasing the kick reacted well to score.
The pick of the magnificent seven was a beauty. From deep within the Munster half, a perfectly weighted cross field kick by Bleydendaal was gathered by Ronan O’Mahony without breaking stride as he raced down his wing at full pace. He drew the defender before offloading to Andrew Conway in support who showed his pace to score his second try in the 35th minute. That brought the score to 22-3 and so it remained at half-time as the minis took to the pitch.
It did not take long to secure the bonus point, the first try for Darren O’Shea who dragged a few Italians over the line with him as he touched down in the 42nd minute. See the great photo of his score at the end of the article in the Indo here – you can see Tommy is helping out too! In fact watching the highlights Tommy had made the initial drive for the line and Darren was next to go and get over the line – or Dan as was attributed in the highlights subtitles! Darren is a big lad, standing 6’9” and weighing 121kg (19 stone!)
Dave Kilcoyne had been prominent in the opening phases of the second half but he made way for Thomas du Toit (signed on a 3 month contract in October) to make his debut after 46’ Standing on the opposite sideline waiting to come on he looked like James Cronin which confused me initially! He is a big man and got stuck in, at one stage trying to choke tackle 2 Treviso players on his own.
Munster’s discipline let them down at key points as they conceded a series of penalties and with other replacements and some injury stoppages the pace of the game dropped. Billy Holland took over captaincy duties from Tommy O’Donnell who left with a dead leg. Jean Kleyn on his return from injury replaced Dave Foley who was himself making his return from injury giving plenty of second row options for the coming games!
It took until the 65th minute for the next score, this time Ronan O’Mahony was on the receiving end of another excellent pass from his outhalf after the Munster maul had sucked in the defenders and secured good field position. Just four minutes later Alex Wootton scored under the posts after an excellent break, making it an easy conversion for Ian Keatley who had come on to form a new partnership with Angus Lloyd. With the score at 41-3 we were hoping for a half century scoreline but it was not to be. However there was time for another try – this time it was excellent play from Robin Copeland who charged forward off the the scrum to put Ronan O’Mahony away.
Ronan nearly got in for a third but ran out of space. When he passed the ball back before going into touch, another debutant, Sammy Arnold was held back. This won a final penalty for Munster and a chance to finish with a flourish but the maul was disrupted and the opportunity to break the 50 point mark was lost.
Munster XV: Andrew Conway; Darren Sweetnam (Wootton 57), Sammy Arnold, Jaco Taute, Ronan O’Mahony; Tyler Bleyendaal (Keatley 66), Duncan Williams (Lloyd 66); Dave Kilcoyne (du Toit 46), Rhys Marshall (Scannell 61), John Ryan (Archer 61); Dave Foley (Kleyn 54), Darren O’Shea; Jack O’Donoghue, Tommy O’Donnell – capt. (Holland 52), Robin Copeland.
Replacements: Niall Scannell, Thomas du Toit, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland, Angus Lloyd, Ian Keatley, Alex Wootton.
Treviso – J Hayward; M Tagicakibau, T Iannone (D Odiete 43), A Sgarbi (c), L Sperandio (A Pratichetti 57); I McKinley, T Tebaldi; A De Marchi (F Zani 57), L Bigi (D Giazzon 49), M Zanusso (T Pasquali 49 HIA); F Gerosa (R Santamaria 48), M Van Vuren (F Conforti 63); M Lazzaroni, F Ferrarini, M Barbini.
After the recent full houses it was a quiet afternoon in Thomond with no-one on the north or south terraces but those who braved the cold had an opportunity to get the first glimpse of some new players including Sammy Arnold at 13, Thomas du Toit at loosehead and Angus Lloyd at scrumhalf and to welcome Dave Foley and Jean Kleyn back from injury. Rory Scannell was in Dublin, on standby in case Jared Payne did not pass a late fitness test, which shows how far he has progressed since breaking into the Munster team just about 12 months ago.
In the absence of Kevin, Imelda did a great job leading us off in “The Fields of Athenry” in the second half. Imelda had also presented the MRSC flag team with a new bag to store the flags in between games, her original creation showing a bit of wear and tear after over 5 seasons!
Tony declared that the lack of a TMO had sped up the game considerably, as the first half only took 43 minutes from start to finish. You would miss the big screen, especially for the action replays and to enjoy seeing the scores from different angles. There were two cameras there so the highlights should be posted later in the week. I will share the link here and on my facebook page when available. I have saved all the photos I took at the game there also. The official photographer’s pictures can be seen here
Match report from The42.ie
Last week while I did not have a rugby blog to write, I did have the more difficult challenge of writing a eulogy for my mother who sadly passed away the previous Wednesday. I wanted to do her justice and to thank her for all her support over the years. While she never sat down to read this blog she did enjoy hearing my stories about who I met or the nice comments I got! Mam was the inspiration behind my signing up for the creative writing course as she encouraged me to write up my Nepali memoirs – she had enjoyed (and kept) my letters home from my two years stay there in the 90s. It was that course which lead to my starting the WTView blog. It was nice to be amongst friends today to enjoy the distraction of a game, and to dedicate this one to her. Rest in peace Mam.