Munster’s European nightmare comes to an end this afternoon – but can they finish on a high? Follow the action live.
Good afternoon and welcome to The42′s live minute-by-minute coverage of Munster’s final Champions Cup match.
Yesterday’s results means there is no chance of Anthony Foley’s side progressing to the quarter-finals, even if they do register a bonus-point win in Treviso this afternoon.
Still, pride can be a powerful motivator.
Kick-off in the Stadio Monigo is at 1pm.
Here’s how Munster will line out — two changes with John Ryan and Donnacha Ryan both starting in the pack.
15. Simon Zebo
14. Keith Earls
13. Francis Saili
12. Rory Scannell
11. Ronan O’Mahony
10. Ian Keatley
9. Conor Murray
1. Dave Kilcoyne
2. Mike Sherry
3. John Ryan
4. Dave Foley
5. Donnacha Ryan
6. Billy Holland
7. Tommy O’Donnell
8. CJ Stander (c)
Here’s the Treviso side:
15. Jayden Hayward
14. Andrea Pratichetti
13. Enrico Bacchin
12. Alberto Sgarbi
11. Simone Ragusi
10. James Ambrosini
9. Alberto Lucchese
1. Matteo Zanusso
2. Ornel Gega
3. Simone Ferrari
4. Marco Fuser
5. Jeff Montauriol
6. Marco Lazzaroni
7. Alessandro Zanni (c)
8. Abraham Steyn
If you’re looking for some pre-match reading, check this out — Murray Kinsella sits down with Munster’s Uruguayan prop Mario Sagario:
“I never expected something as big as Munster,” says Sagario. “I was talking with my agent, he had a few clubs in the Premiership but nothing happened.
“I finished the World Cup and took the week off to recover in France and on the second day he called me and said, ‘Listen Mario, you have to meet Munster as soon as possible because they want to give you a trial.’
“I said, ‘Munster? Did they ask for me or did they ask for a prop, because that’s not the same?’ He told me that they had asked for me. The day after I took a plane to Ireland.”
Munster’s European campaign might be doomed — that their mathematical chances survived until the final weekend despite three defeats is perhaps the biggest surprise — but for Ulster, the dream lives on.
They’ll be keeping a close eye on the other game in Pool 4 where Stade Francais host Leicester. The Premiership club are already through and a win for Stade would see them join Ulster on 18 points; a bonus point would take them past Les Kiss’s side.
Toulon have already guaranteed their runner-up spot but the game in Paris, along with Exeter v Ospreys and Clermont v Bordeaux, will define the battle for the final two places in the knockout rounds.
Ian Keatley and Conor Murray practice their kicking at the Stadio Monigo:
KICK OFF: Treviso full-back Jayden Hayward gets us underway.
Munster snatch the first lineout on Treviso’s throw and they have a chance to build their first attack. Stander is held up by the choke tackle — I think it was Abraham Steyn who got his hands on him — and it will be Treviso’s put-in to the scrum.
First scrum goes Munster’s way as John Ryan wins his battle against Matteo Zanusso right in front of the referee. Keatley kicks Munster down inside the 22.
TRY! Treviso 0-7 Munster (Ronan O’Mahony, 5′) Simple for Munster as Murray peels away from the back of the maul and sucks in a Treviso defender before passing to Ronan O’Mahony who darts in for an easy opening try.
Keatley is practically under the posts, and the conversion is no problem.
Glorious chance for Munster but they can’t make it count. Treviso are deep in Munster territory but a sloppy pass allows Earls to pounce and he immediately has the Italians on the back foot. Munster go about 75 yards on the counter but when the moment comes for Tommy O’Donnell to deliver the decisive pass, he stalls a bit and his eventual pass to Zebo is correctly ruled forward.
Munster pinged for not rolling away — it was Billy Holland at the bottom of the ruck. James Ambrosini will have a chance to get Treviso on the board…
And he misses to the right — that’s a bit of a let-off for Munster.
Francis Saili has shown a few electric turns of pace in this opening quarter-hour and, again, he catches Treviso napping. Munster take the 22 dropout quickly following Ambrosini’s missed kick and Saili is able to run it back with interest.
Munster are within inches of a second try. Great work by Keith Earls, who drives back in from the touchline, and then by Tommy O’Donnell with the powerful carry. Zebo breaks for the line but his body position is a bit high and it come back for a Munster penalty.
TRY! Treviso 0-14 Munster (Kilcoyne, 16′) Munster take that penalty quickly and move it through the hands before Kilcoyne goes low and forces his way through at the second attempt. The referee was a bit unsighted but the TMO confirms that the try is legit, and Keatley tacks on another two.
Nothing much wrong with this Munster performance so far.
Here’s the latest from Paris:
Bit of a bang there for Keith Earls but it looks like he’ll be ok to continue — an injury in a dead-rubber match is the last thing that Joe Schmidt and Ireland need.
Meanwhile in Paris, Jules Plisson has scored to make it Stade Francais 7-7 Leicester Tigers.
All quiet in Italy but it’s raining tries in Paris where Waisea Vuidravuwalu has just scored to make it Stade 12-7 Leicester — the hosts are half-way to their bonus point and that’s bad news for Ulster.
Back in the Stadio Monigo, Treviso have missed another penalty. This game has gone a little bit flat.
Another try for Stade as Slimani crosses, and Ulster’s quarter-final hopes are hanging by a thread now.
Dave Foley is penalised for a tackle without the ball and Treviso kick the penalty inside the 22. The danger is snuffed out by Munster though as Billy Holland poaches possession from the lineout.
SIN BIN! Billy Holland sent to the bin as Munster concede two penalties in quick succession.
TRY! Treviso 5-14 Munster (Lazzaroni, 36′) Treviso score and it’s no more than they deserve as they’ve been well in this game. The penalty is kicked to touch and Lazzaroni drives over in the maul.
Hayward’s conversion and hangs left and clips the post before dropping on the wrong side of the bar — he’s 0/3 now.
From the restart, Ian Keatley kicks the ball out on the full.
Good initiative by Treviso who kick another penalty to touch with the clock ticking towards 40. They’ve time for the lineout, but they’re penalised for faking the throw, and that will be half-time.
HALF TIME: Treviso 5-14 Munster
Ronan O’Mahony goes over for Munster’s first…
And Dave Kilcoyne makes sure of the second.
SECOND HALF: We’re back underway.
TRY… WAIT, NO TRY?! Serious confusion as CJ Stander wrestles the ball free from a thicket of bodies in the maul and grounds it with a big smile on his face.
But as Ian Keatley prepares to take the conversion, the referee changes his mind and decides to review the TMO footage. As he does, it seems that Stander lost the ball forward — though he had some degree of control as the ball nestled between his elbow and his body.
Not enough though and the try is scrubbed.
First Munster change on 48 minutes on James Cronin comes on to replace Dave Kilcoyne.
TRY! Treviso 5-21 Munster (Murray, 50′) Treviso make changes to their own front row and before the replacements have time to settle, Munster have carved them open for a third try. Conor Murray parts the the Italian defence with a clever show and go, and runs in unopposed under the posts.
Keatley converts and Munster just need one more for the, admittedly meaningless, bonus point.
Munster penalised for not rolling away but after Treviso’s lineout 10 metres out, Munster manage to disrupt their maul and the referee awards them put-in to the scrum.
Smashing work by James Cronin in the front row of that scrum and Munster lift the pressure without conceding any points.
Latest from Paris – Leicester have a second try but they need a few more to help Ulster
TRY MUNSTER! Treviso 5-28 Munster (Ronan O’Mahony, 66′) And there’s Munster’s fourth — great break by Jack O’Donoghue and he sets up Ronan O’Mahony who has the legs to evade the final Treviso defenders and score in the corner.
It’s not the easiest conversion for Keatley but he makes it.
Conor Murray penalised for tackling the man after the ball was gone, and Treviso will have a chance for a consolation try as we near the final 10 minutes.
(Nearly) drama in Paris — Leicester have a third try but after a review from the TMO, there’s a forward pass in the build-up.
Back in Italy, Tomás O’Leary is on to replace Conor Murray for the last seven minutes.
FULL TIME: Treviso 5-28 Munster
All over in Italy as Munster claim the bonus-point win but the damage in this European campaign was done long before today.
And it’s all over in Paris where Stade Francais have beaten Leicester 36-21 — Ulster are out.
Ronan O’Mahony is named Man of the Match.
That’s all from us for now but join us later for more reaction to today’s European action. Although maybe we should just switch focus to the Six Nations…