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Sunday 24 September 2017

McGahan buoyed by bonus-hungry Munster

FOUR successive away defeats have left champions Munster with ground to make up in the PRO12, but while Treviso showed commendable spirit and were not afraid to take Munster on up front at Thomond Park on Saturday evening, the outcome was never in doubt in a 29-11 win for the home side.

However, the bonus point was, but Tony McGahan's men were at their best in the closing 10 minutes to nail it and send them into the final rounds of the Heineken Cup with confidence, starting with this weekend's clash with Castres.

McGahan said that while it was good preparation for the concluding pool games in the Heineken Cup, the most important thing was to secure the win and stay in touch with the top.

"The set-piece would have been a concern, but when you're bringing a group of players back in, there was always going to be a lack of fluency," he said. "But to create the opportunities and still come out with a bonus point is a good reflection of the playing group."

Munster recovered from poor lineouts and scrums to hit back with a game-changing 35m maul and 14 phases that ended with Ronan O'Gara getting their first score when he slotted a penalty from close range after 18 minutes.

Munster then got it right after 24 minutes as Conor Murray and Lifeimi Mafi combined in midfield for Niall Ronan to race in from 35m for a fine try, which O'Gara converted.



Injury

Ronan had to go off with a knee injury sustained while scoring and the hosts led just 10-6 at the break.

Keith Earls took an inside pass from O'Gara and skipped through the weak challenge of Burton after 50 minutes to put some daylight between the sides, with the conversion making it 17-6.

However, it was Treviso who reacted better and they scored when No8 Manoa Vosawai went over after 54 minutes.

But Munster raised their game in the closing minutes to kill off the Treviso challenge and claim the bonus point.

The impressive James Coughlan broke off a five-metre scrum to score after the television match official had ruled against Murray. Munster then piled on the pressure and were rewarded when Simon Zebo secured the bonus four minutes from time.

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