Munster secure home PRO12 semifinal


Munster bounced back from their Champions Cup defeat to beat Treviso 34-14 at Stadio Monigo and secure a home semi-final in the PRO12.

The Irish side ran in five tries, with winger Darren Sweetnam touching down twice, which sees the Red Army certain of a home tie at Thomond Park with one match still to play.

The visitors, without captain Billy Holland through illness, were forced into an early change following a leg injury to Dave O’Callaghan in the 11th minute, with Ronan O’Mahony then also limping off shortly afterwards.

After taking a while to get into their rhythm in Parma, Sweetnam scored Munster’s opening try when he went in at the corner on 25 minutes, with Simon Zebo adding another after 32 minutes, which stand-in skipper Tyler Bleyendaal converted.

Bleyendaal also put over a penalty which saw Munster take a 15-0 lead into half-time, while Ireland lock Donnacha Ryan was withdrawn for a head injury assessment soon after the restart.

Treviso full-back David Odiete got the Italians onto the scoresheet eight minutes into the second half when he exposed space on the flanks, his try converted by Ian McKinley to reduce the deficit to 15-7.

Munster, though, restored their advantage when Francis Saili’s looping pass released replacement Alex Wootton down the right to score a third try on 64 minutes, before Jack O’Donoghue barged over to secure a bonus point.

On 70 minutes, Sweetnam latched onto his own kick to touchdown, with Bleyendaal adding another conversion. Treviso, who had recently defeated Edinburgh and play-off contenders Ospreys, scored a late try from close-range by Jean-Francois Montauriol.

The victory sees Rassie Erasmus’ side keep the pressure up on Leinster to take a top seeding in the play-offs. Munster will complete their regular-season matches against Connacht at Thomond Park next weekend.

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