With Andy Farrell watching, Munster rack up six tries and brush aside Benetton challenge

Jean Kleyn scored a brace as Rassie Erasmus’ side had a bonus-point wrapped up by the 31st minute.

Image: Bryan Keane ; ©INPHO/Bryan Keane/INPHO

Munster 34

Benetton Rugby 3

John Fallon reports from Irish Independent Park. 

Munster got their season off to a flying start with a comprehensive 34-3 win in perfect conditions in Cork.

The game was over as a contest by half-time with Munster running in five tries to build a 27-3 interval lead.

The bonus point was in the bag by the 31st minute as Benetton Rugby’s poor challenge was easily dealt with by a polished Munster side.

Two tries in the opening 14 minutes got rid of any fear of a shock result with Kiwi Marty Banks getting a clear indication of the big task he faces all season if he is to fire this Italian side from out-half.

Jean Kleyn got Munster off the mark after nine minutes with the remaining four tries in the opening half coming from the backs.

Sean O’Connor wins a line out ball Source: Bryan Keane ; ©INPHO/Bryan Keane/INPHO

Skipper Tyler Bleyendaal, who converted the first try but then kicked the remaining four in the half wide of the target, got Munster’s second touchdown after a pop pass from his partner Duncan Williams.

Alex Wootton set up his opposite winger Darren Sweetnam for the third and then Wootton himself sealed the bonus point after sprinting down the left.

Full-back Andrew Conway, looking very sharp from the off, then cut his way from deep to punish the Italians before the break.

Munster, with Irish defence coach Andy Farrell — a possible successor to Rassie Erasmus — watching in the stands, crossed for a sixth try after 50 minutes when Kleyn bulldozed over after Italian international Francesco Minto was binned for killing the ball.

Andrew Conway and Ian McKinely after the game Source: Bryan Keane ; ©INPHO/Bryan Keane/INPHO

Munster took their foot off the pedal after that and were unable to add to their tally as the contest fizzled out.

The only disappointment on the night for Munster was a serious knee injury picked up by Dan Goggin after he was introduced and Erasmus said afterwards that he would need to be assessed before the extend of it is established.

Munster scorers:Tries: Jean Kleyn (2), Tyler Bleyendaal, Darren Sweetnam, Alex Wootton, Andrew Conway

Conversions: Tyler Bleyendaal (2)

Benetton Rugby scorers:

Penalty: Marty Banks

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Munster: Andrew Conway; Darren Sweetnam, Chris Farrell (Dan Goggin ’67), Jaco Taute (Ian Keatley ’50), Alex Wootton; Tyler Bleyendaal (capt), Duncan Williams (James Hart ’56); Liam O’Connor (Brian Scott ’70), Rhys Marshall (Mike Sherry ’41), Stephen Archer (Ciaran Parker ’64); Jean Kleyn (Fineen Wycherley ’61), Billy Holland (Robin Copeland ’60); Sean O’Connor, Tommy O’Donnell, Jack O’Donoghue.

Benetton Rugby: Ian McKinley; Angelo Esposito, Tommaso Benvenuti, Tommaso Allan, Edoardo Gori; Marty Banks, Tito Tebaldi (Giorgio Bronzini ’50); Federico Zani (Alberto De Marchi ’50), Luca Bigi (Engjel Makelara ’50), Simone Ferrari (Marco Riccioni ’55); Dean Budd (capt) (Federico Ruzza ’60), Marco Lazzaroni (Alberto Sgarbi ’67); Francesco Minto, Sebastian Negri (Braam Steyn ’64), Whetu Douglas.

Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)

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John Fallon

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