Jump to main content


RaboDirect PRO12 Preview: Munster v Benetton Treviso

RaboDirect PRO12 Preview: Munster v Benetton Treviso

With their Ireland internationals back on board, Munster will be hoping to get back to winning ways against Benetton Treviso as they try to reclaim third place in the RaboDirect PRO12.

RABODIRECT PRO12: Saturday, January 7

MUNSTER (4th) v BENETTON TREVISO (8th), Thomond Park, 8.15pm (live RTÉ Two/Rai Sport 2)

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

Team News: With three players who started against Ulster ruled out through injury and the returning Ireland internationals available for selection, Munster once again ring the changes for the RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Benetton Treviso at Thomond Park.

In all, head coach Tony McGahan has made ten changes to the starting line-up he selected for the derby match against Ulster.

One of the alterations is a positional switch with Johne Murphy moving wings to accommodate the inclusion of Simon Zebo who was rested last time out.

Murphy, the scorer of Munster’s final try in Belfast, takes over from Luke O’Dea who also touched down against Ulster but sustained an ankle injury which ruled him out of consideration for the Benetton Treviso game.

Otherwise, just five players – Denis Hurley, Lifeimi Mafi, Wian du Preez, Damien Varley and James Coughlan – have retained their places from the interprovincial tie.

Niall Ronan returns to the openside flanker berth where Tommy O’Donnell started last time out but ended with a knee injury.

Peter O’Mahony, who had been nursing a jaw injury, also resumes in the number 6 jersey at the expense of David O’Callaghan.

O’Callaghan gave another good account of himself at Ravenhill last weekend and looks to have been a very shrewd inclusion by McGahan in Munster’s Heineken Cup squad.

Meanwhile, following their derby win over Aironi last time out, Benetton Treviso boss Franco Smith has resisted making huge changes to his side for the Limerick trip.

Manoa Vosawai comes into the back row to replace Robert Barbieri, who was hit hard on the face during the game against Aironi.

Enrico Pavanello takes Vosawai’s place on the bench, while the only other change among the replacements sees Pedro di Santo make way for Matteo Muccignat.

MUNSTER: Denis Hurley; Johne Murphy, Keith Earls, Lifeimi Mafi, Simon Zebo; Ronan O’Gara, Conor Murray; Wian du Preez, Damien Varley, BJ Botha, Donnacha Ryan, Paul O’Connell (capt), Peter O’Mahony, Niall Ronan, James Coughlan.

Replacements: Denis Fogarty, Marcus Horan, Stephen Archer, Donncha O’Callaghan, Billy Holland, Tomas O’Leary, Ian Keatley, Danny Barnes.

BENETTON TREVISO: Luke McLean; Ludovico Nitoglia, Tommaso Benvenuti, Alberto Sgarbi, Brendan Williams; Kris Burton, Tobie Botes; Michele Rizzo, Franco Sbaraglini, Lorenzo Cittadini, Antonio Pavanello (capt), Corniel van Zyl, Gonzalo Padrò, Alessandro Zanni, Manoa Vosawai.

Replacements: Diego Vidal, Matteo Muccignat, Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, Valerio Bernabò, Enrico Pavanello, Simon Picone, Edoardo Gori, Alberto di Bernardo.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Michael Black. Kevin Beggs (both Ireland)
Television Match Official: Seamus Flannery (Ireland)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Munster to win: 1/25; Draw: 35/1; Benetton Treviso to win: 9/1

Pre-Match Quotes: Paul O’Connell (Munster) – “This is not just a dress rehearsal for rounds five and six of the Heineken Cup, it’s a ‘must win’ game.

“Danger lurks in the form of the Cardiff Blues, the Scarlets, Treviso and Ulster, all of whom are seriously challenging for a place in the top four.

“It’s funny because in some games, we’re just not putting 80-minute performances together. We’re playing in fits and starts, a little bit like we did with Ireland at times coming up to the World Cup.

“We need to put together 80-minute performances and I think things will change for us then.

“But I like a lot of things that we’re doing, we’re winning tight games, which is very important, and when we do put those 80-minute performances in, I think we’ll be in very good great shape.”

Franco Smith (Benetton Treviso) – “Last year in the second half of the season we had a run of eight straight defeats and we really stalled. For us the objective is to forget about the table and keep up our intensity.

“We know it will be tough against Munster who are also preparing for two important European games, but the good thing is the pressure is completely off us.

“Munster are a strong team with a forward pack boasting a lot of experience. But if we want the national team to get stronger, we need to go to these grounds and feel we can win. The game will have the intensity of a Test match.

“The result from the first game (against Aironi) was disappointing but all teams feel like that at times. I’m sure Leinster were the same when they came and lost to us last season.

“Aironi played very well in the first game and we mustn’t play down their performance. In the second game though we showed a great response and now we want to keep up that momentum.”

Top Scorers – 2011/12 RaboDirect PRO12: Munster – Points: Ian Keatley 113; Tries: Danny Barnes 4; Benetton Treviso – Points: Kris Burton 105; Tries: Brendan Williams 4


Friday, October 22, 2010 – Munster 39 Benetton Treviso 13, Thomond Park
Sunday, February 13, 2011 – Benetton Treviso 19 Munster 18, Stadio di Monigo


– Munster’s 33-17 reversal in Ulster last weekend ended a three-match winning streak

– The Munstermen have lost just once at home in the RaboDirect PRO12 since April 2010, going down 17-13 to the Ospreys at Thomond Park in October 2011

– Benetton Treviso have won two of their last three encounters in the RaboDirect PRO12, and have won three of their last four matches away from home in the league

– Munster suffered a first ever loss to an Italian side when they last met Benetton Treviso at Stadio di Monigo in February