Sunday 23 October 2016

Munster maintain push as Connacht slip to seventh

Tommy O'Donnell played a starring role for Munster
Tommy O'Donnell played a starring role for Munster

Munster maintained their challenge for a home Guinness PRO12 semi-final with a 30-19 bonus point victory over Benetton Treviso at Irish Independent Park On Saturday.

A try from man of the match Tommy O'Donnell on the stroke of half-time had Munster leading 20-7, that scoreline owing much to a lively first quarter which included unconverted scores from Simon Zebo and CJ Stander.

Andrea Pratichetti's 42nd-minute effort gave Treviso some early momentum in the second half, before Ian Keatley replied with a penalty and Munster established clear dominance in the scrum to win a clinching penalty try.

However, Anthony Foley will be disappointed with the manner of his side's performance, particularly as they allowed the Italians in for three tries - the last of them scored by winger Simone Ragusi with six minutes remaining.

The five-point return does at least ensure that Munster are back in second place in the PRO12 table, just a point ahead of Ulster whom they meet at Kingspan Stadium in a fortnight's time.

Glasgow Warriors' clinical finishing proved too much for Connacht as the Guinness PRO12 leaders ran out 31-13 bonus point winners at the Sportsground.

Connacht controlled much of the first half but trailed 19-6 by its end, Niko Matawalu bagging a brace and Stuart Hogg also dotting down as the Warriors profited from the Irish province's errors.

Aly Muldowney's fifth try of the league campaign brought the hosts closer either side of yellow cards for Glasgow duo Tommy Seymour and Chris Fusaro. However, Adam Ashe's 67th-minute effort sealed the bonus point and Seymour added a flattering fifth before the end.

Results this weekend have seen Connacht relinquish their grip on sixth place in that battle for European Champions Cup qualification. Pat Lam's men are now four points behind Edinburgh with the Scarlets also pushing hard.


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