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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 14 July, 2020

Leinster limp to loss in Glasgow, Munster throw away 10-point lead to Treviso

It was a sensational night for Italian sides as Zebre made history by claiming a win in Cardiff.

Image: ©INPHO/Russell Cheyne

AT ONE POINT, Munster looked certain to continue their winning run and become the first Pro12 side to claim 15 points in the opening three games.

That dream was soon thrown out the window however as Treviso staged a stunning fightback to claim a 29 – 19 win as Rob Penney’s side were reduced to 12 men.

Munster had gotten off to a flying start and led 9 – 12 at half time thanks to a brilliant move rounded off by Keith Earls in the seventh minute and a 28th minute penalty try.

Earls’ score was the third of Munster’s early line-breaks; Earls also made the first with Duncan Williams following soon after.

The try came thanks to Casey Laulala’s burst and he let James Downey forced defenders further back before Simon Zebo injected pace and passed for Earls to speed over.

A Niall Ronan yellow card came in between Matt Berquist penalties which put the home side into the lead. However, Munster reasserted their dominance with an eight-man shove after Earls had been judged to have been held up by the TMO.

Three scrum penalties came and went before the referee finally awarded the penalty try as Williams failed to dot the ball down.

The second half started like a procession with Stephen Archer claiming a try off a fluid maul. Keatley’s conversion made the lead 9 -19.

That’s when the comeback began. Ludovico Nitoglia finished outside Simon Zebo after a simple skip pass caught the Munster defence flat-footed.

Berquist’s conversion was initially ruled missed after hitting the post but a TMO review spotted the ball’s shadow on the inside of the post and the three-point gap was erased with the ex-Leinster man’s next kick at goal.

YouTube credit: RaboDirect Pro12

The momentum was all Italian. And the Forza rained down from the stands as Nitoglia dived in for his second try just after the hour mark. Despite the difficult angle, Berquist again found the target and Munster were suddenly paddling upstream and discipline left them.

First Duncan Williams was sin-binned, then his replacement scrum-half Cathal Sheridan followed suit. With Munster desperately hanging on and the hosts seeking an overlap Archer was the fourth Munster man to be issued a yellow, this one for a high tackle.

Treviso’s comeback rounded off a perfect night for Italian rugby as Zebre stunned their hosts in Cardiff by claiming their first ever Pro12 win with a three-try 30 -25 victory.

In Glasgow, Leinster also suffered their first defeat of the season after putting in a dysfunctional display in a 12 -6 defeat.

Jimmy Gopperth had given the eastern province a first-half, but Leinster were forced into a reshuffle as (late replacement for Darragh Fanning) Lote Tuqiri himself cried off on his debut with a hamstring injury. Ian Madigan moved to the wing as Rob Kearney was called from the bench to fill his favoured role at fullback.

They held the lead until late in the opening half when Chris Fusaro found a gap in the defence and kepthis legs pumping until he found the space to ground the ball near the posts.

YouTube credit: RaboDirect Pro12

The second half brought even less for the reigning champions to call a positive. Gopperth narrowed the gap to just a single point, but even with Stuart Hogg in poor form, the Warriors rarely looked like coughing up the points.

And with five minutes to go, they sealed their third victory in three games with a now trademark late try, Jerry Yanuyanutawa grounding from a powerful maul.

Keith Earls finishes off brilliant Munster try

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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