The bonus point win against Zebre was welcome but the real bonus was discovering that Ospreys had lost in Treviso! As a result Munster leap-frogged them into second place in the table to take their destiny back into their own hands after 18 rounds of the league. The remaining home games will be tough with Glasgow, Ulster and Connacht desperate to get into the top 4 / top 6, while a slip-up in Treviso would be disastrous but the route to a home semi-final is clear. Ospreys have yet to host Leinster – the result of which will also have a bearing on the final positions. I am sure there will be a few more twists and turns along the way but a great position to be in at this stage of the competition.
After seeing the strong team named on Friday the bonus point win was expected and we had fingers crossed for no more injuries also! As the game was untelevised it was a case of watching events unfold via the twitter feed and a shout out to @ThreeRedKings who translated Italian updates to provide additional insight. While there were 9 tries in all Tom still had time to amuse us with some “fake news” as he weaved himself into the updates as a new wonder player who scored tries, won MOTM and was adopted by the locals to become Mayor of Parma 🙂
Niall Scannell was the first try scorer and official MOTM (sorry Tom.) Another strong maul set up the second try, this time finished off by Tommy O’Donnell. Ronan O’Mahony increased his lead in the try-scoring charts for this season, adding 2 more to his tally, one in each half! Rory Scannell scored the bonus point try and kicked 2/3 conversions with Tyler kicking the others and a penalty. It was great to read that James Cronin marked his return to action in time for the business end of the season with two tries. Selection headaches abound for the management with the keen competition for places in most positions.
For the record Derick Minnie scored for the home side in the first half with Lloyd Greef scoring in the second half. They also conceded two yellow cards in the second half.
ZEBRE: 15. Dion Berryman; 14. Kayle Van Zyl (23. Guglielmo Palazzani 64′), 13. Tommaso Boni, 12. Tommaso Castello (22. Matteo Pratichetti 71′), 11. Lloyd Greeff; 10. Serafin Bordoli, 9. Marcello Violi (21. Carlo Engelbrecht 71′); 1. Bruno Postiglioni (17. Andrea De Marchi 28′), 2. Oliviero Fabiana, 3. Bartholomeus Le Roux (18. Guillermo Roan 63′); 4. Gideon Koegelenberg, 5. Valerio Bernabo (capt) (19. Josh Furno 41′); 6. Maxime Mbanda (20. Pietro Ceccarelli 65′), 7. Derick Minnie (16. Sidney Tobias 67′), 8. Federico Ruzza.
MUNSTER: 15. David Johnston; 14. Darren Sweetnam, 13. Jaco Taute (23. Dan Goggin 65′), 12. Rory Scannell, 11. Ronan O’Mahony; 10. Tyler Bleyendaal (22. Bill Johnston 50′), 9. Duncan Williams (21. Angus Lloyd 58′); 1. Dave Kilcoyne (17. James Cronin 50′), 2. Niall Scannell (16. Rhys Marshall 63′), 3. John Ryan (18. Stephen Archer 63′); 4. Dave O’Callaghan, 5. Billy Holland (19. Darren O’Shea 69′); 6. Peter O’Mahony (Capt), 7. Tommy O’Donnell (20. Conor Oliver 57′), 8. Jack O’Donoghue.
I can think of several sets of brothers playing for the same team including Barry and Ronan O’Mahony for Munster in recent years with Stephen and Conor Fitzgerald perhaps in the future, the Kearneys in Leinster etc. but two sets of brothers for the same team in the same competitive game may be a first!
Watching the highlights below from the Pro12 Ronan’s 2nd try seems to be the pick of the bunch, a great chase of the kick and run by Darren, recycled to the other side by David Johnston with Tyler picking up the pass on a great line and Ronan finishing it off:
Some of the items posted to the blog Facebook page last week included an interview with Denis Leamy plus analysis of Peter O’Mahony from The42.ie. and the Crooked Feed podcast hosted by Duncan Casey featuring referee John Lacey and outhalf Tyler Bleyendaal. During the week MRSC opened membership renewals for 2017/18 and you can hear me say a line in their promo video. I smiled that the line they included was me saying “it’s hard to describe” which probably explains why most weeks the blog runs to over two thousand words! You are saved that this week as there was no TV coverage!
Now focus turns to European action and the anticipation is building for another big day in Thomond. Hopefully Conor Murray and Jack O’Donoghue will be fit to take part. Let’s get there early, being
RED, LOUD AND PROUD!
The 16th man, woman and child need to show that Fortress Thomond is as intimidating a venue as when Toulouse last visited in 2014!
I also plan to get along to CIT on the Friday evening to support Munster A versus Ealing Trailfinders in the B&I Cup semi-final. A busy weekend and hopefully doubly successful!