Munster moved above Benetton in the United Rugby Championship (URC) standings after clinching a deserved 40-30 triumph against the Italian outfit at Stadio Monigo on Saturday.
Ireland fly-half Joey Carbery led the way for the visitors as he contributed 15 points in his side’s victory after crossing for a try in the 76th minute and he also succeeded with five conversions.
Munster‘s other points came courtesy of further five-pointers from Paddy Patterson, Jack O’Sullivan, John Hodnett, Jean Kleyn and Antoine Frisch.
Ignacio Mendy was in fine form for the home side as completed a hat-trick of tries in the game’s closing stages which secured a bonus-point for his team whose other try was scored by Marco Zanon, while Jacon Umaga finished with a 10-point haul after slotting a couple of conversions and as many penalties.
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Benetton drew first blood in the fifth minute when Filippo Drago broke through the Munster defensive line and he quickly offloaded to Umaga, who in turn fed Zanon to motor over in the left corner.
Umaga’s attempted conversion hit the upright with the 90-second shot clock in operation for the first time this weekend.
The Italians raced into a 12-0 lead seven minutes later when a quick ball inside from a ruck saw Rhyno Smith power through the line and, when he was eventually brought down, his long pass picked out Mendy to canter over in the right corner with Umaga adding the extras.
Munster got themselves back into the game almost immediately when Calvin Nash collected his own chip forward and with full-back Smith out of position, an inside pass to Patterson gave the scrum-half a simple try with Carbery converting.
The visitors silenced the home crowd to go ahead after 30 minutes following superb work from their back-row.
Hodnett broke clear through the middle and drew the tacklers before flipping the ball to O’Sullivan on his shoulder to cruise in under the posts and Carbery’s conversion put them 14-12 up.
Umaga restored the Benetton lead on the stroke of half-time when he sent a straightforward penalty from in front of the posts over for a 15-14 lead.
It took Munster just two minutes after the interval to grab their third try.
Munster sent the ball down the line from a ruck just outside the Benetton 22 and Hodnett then burst through two poor tackle attempts to run in under the posts and give Carbery an easy conversion.
Benetton reduced the lead to three points as Ben Healy was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on and Umaga sent the penalty through the posts.
Despite being a man down, Munster went over for the bonus-point try as Kleyn squirmed over from close range.
With replacement hooker Diarmuid Barron yellow carded for conceding a penalty close to Munster’s line for playing off his feet, Benetton went in for a third try.
Quick ball from the scrum found Marcus Watson and he drew his man before feeding Mendy to go over for his second try in the corner.
Munster then wrapped it with a pair of insurance tries in the final 10 minutes.
Healy’s clever kick was gathered by Frisch to go over in the corner before Carbery took advantage of a tiring home defence with a simple score before Mendy claimed this third.
Six-try Glasgow Warriors prove too strong for Dragons
Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors continued with their impressive URC form as they outscored the Dragons by six tries to four en route to a 42-28 victory at Rodney Parade.
Cole Forbes, Fraser Brown (2), Duncan Weir, Stafford Macdowell and Sebastian Cancelliere crossed the whitewash for the Scottish outfit, while their other points came courtesy of conversions from Weir (5) and Tom Jordan.
For the Dragons, Rhodri Williams, Sio Tompkinson, Taine Basham and Chris Coleman dotted down with their other points coming via the boot off JJ Hanrahan, who added four conversions.
The hosts were without talisman and Wales star Ross Moriarty, who was ruled out after being concussed in their last game and was going through his return to play protocols.
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Forbes opened the scoring with the game’s first try when he combined with centre Sam Johnson to score under the posts and Brown then got his first try after being driven over from short range.
The Dragons hit back with two tries of their own by scrum-half and skipper Williams and centre Tomkinson midway through the first half to level the scores at 14-14.
But Glasgow saw Brown cross for his second try and fly-half Weir getting in on the act to make it 28-14 at the break and with the Dragons down to 14-men with hooker Brodie Coghlan in the sinbin for a professional foul.
After the break, the visitors crossed for two more tries by McDowall and Cancelliere and were never troubled by the Dragons who managed late tries by Basham and Coleman.