herald

Friday 2 December 2016

Five reasons for

MUNSTER will make no bones about their need for every point on offer against Benetton Treviso at Irish Independent Park this afternoon (KO3.05, TG4).

Coach Anthony Foley definitely takes the opinion there are greater challenges ahead in the closing weeks of the season.

This is reflected in the decision to leave Paul O'Connell outside the squad, while their is a slot for Donnacha Ryan, fresh from two cameo roles and 80 minutes for Munster 'A' last week.

Munster Player of the Year nominee Billy Holland will partner Ryan in behind a front-row where Stephen Archer is going to have to deliver on his long, unconvincing apprenticeship.

Flanker Tommy O'Donnell will win his 100th cap in a back row with Peter O'Mahony and CJ Stander.

The best bargaining tools Munster bring to this are the attacking gifts of their wings Keith Earls and Simon Zebo.

Their mere presence will ensure there is defensive respect on the flanks and more room to manoeuvre for Munster through the middle.

This is where the distribution of their half-backs Conor Murray and Ian Keatley, flat to the line, can really become a problem too big to control.

That said, this is far from a dead rubber for a battling Treviso.

They have serious concerns of their own that need detailed attention as they hold a slender three-point lead over Zebre in the squabble Champions Cup qualification.

Munster: F Jones; K Earls, A Smith, R Scannell, S Zebo; I Keatley, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, D Casey, S Archer, B Holland, D Ryan, P O'Mahony (capt), T O'Donnell, CJ Stander.

Treviso: J Hayward; A Pratichetti, L Morisi, E Bacchin, L Nitgolia; S Christie, E Gori; M Zanusso, D Giazzon, R Harden, M Fuser, C van Zyl, P Derbyshire, F Minto, M Luamanu.

VERDICT: Munster

Promoted articles

Entertainment News