Munster recorded their second win with a workmanlike performance against Benetton Treviso in their second RaboDirect Pro12 match defeating the Italian side 19-6 at Thomond Park.
A good start to the match saw Munster race 16-3 ahead after a try from captain Doug Howlett and three penalties from Ian Keatley but they were unable to build on a good first-half performance and failed to secure a bonus point victory which at one point seemed a certainty. A fired up Munster were keen to lay down a marker as new coach Rob Penney warned that it might take time to perfect the running he promised. Treviso made eight changes to the side which defeated champions Ospreys 12-6 on the opening weekend.
Treviso took the lead early on through a penalty from fly half Alberto Di Bernardo from 35 minutes after three minutes. Munster were without Donncha O’Callaghan after his wife went into labour shortly before kickoff but came back and dominated the rest of the first half. It took six minutes before Munster struck a telling blow when a rehearsed lineout overthrow put Dave O’Callaghan away to make the hard yards into Treviso’s 22 before sending Howlett over for a try which was converted easily by Ian Keatley.
In typical Munster style they continued to pile on thepressure, but were content to keep taking any points on offer, with Keatley making no mistake with three penalties. James Downey was outstanding at inside centre and Sean Dougall caught the eye in a sterling backrow performance, showing great willingness to throw the ball around and it was only a matter of time before their superiority was going to be reflected on the scoreboard.
Munster continued their domination after the break, with both Luke O’Dea and Casey Laulala stopped short of scoring tries, Keatley extended the lead to 19-3 after 50 minutes after Treviso centre Alberto Sgarbi was yellow-carded for killing the ball.
Treviso were the first to ring the changes in the third quarter as they were forced to defend for large parts of the second half spending most of the third quarter penned inside their own 22. Their solid efforts in defence were somewhat rewarded when they were broke forward in a rare foray into attack with Di Bernardo reducing the margin going into the final quarter by converting his second penalty from in front of the posts.
Munster finished with 14 players when replacement hooker Mike Sherry was yellow-carded two minutes from time for killing the ball as Treviso came in search of a losing bonus point. But the Munster line was never really threatened.