Munster pick up unlikely draw away to Benetton

A last minute Tom Ahern try, converted by Joey Carbery, snatched an unlikely draw for Munster away to Benetton in Treviso on Sunday afternoon.

Graham Rowntree’s Munster side picked up a draw away to Benetton on Saturday evening, with a late Tom Ahern try earning them a 13-13 tie.

The hosts led for the majority of the game with Munster unable to make a breakthrough due to a combination of good Benetton defence and inaccurate play.

Munster trailed 13-3 after 72 minutes but a Joey Carbery penalty reduced the arrears before Ahern’s close-range finish in the final play saw Rowntree’s men do just enough to maintain their unbeaten start to the URC.

There was one change to the side announced on Friday. Josh Wycherley dropped out due to a knock with Kieran Ryan making his first start for Munster as Mark Donnelly came into the squad on the bench for his first appearance of the season.

Calvin Nash and John Hodnett started on their first games of the campaign with Seán O’Brien making his Munster debut off the bench as Paddy Patterson returned from a long-term knee injury.

Neither side were able to gain the upper hand early on with almost the entire opening 30 minutes spent in midfield.

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Two longe-range Jacob Umaga penaties had given Benetton a 6-3 lead with Carbery replying for Munster.

The hosts started to turn the screw in the latter stages of the first half and deservedly led 13-3 at half-time when Rhyno Smith glided over for the first try.

Munster seized the initiative after the break and looked much more threatening but time and time again, the Benetton defence came up trumps with the hosts’ scrum also earning them a number of penalties.

The Munster replacements made a good impact with Nankivell carrying strongly but with the clock ticking into the final 10 minutes, the hosts were still in a strong position with a 10-point lead.

When Munster were awarded a penalty under the posts with seven minutes to go, we took the sensible option and Carbery kicked the points to make it a seven-point game with seven minutes to go.

Benetton looked to have survived after winning a breakdown penalty with four minutes left but Jack O’Donoghue got up to steal the lineout and Munster were still alive.

A Benetton transgression saw Carbery kick to the corner and although Gavin Coombes’ effort was ruled out by the TMO, Ahern finished expertly with the clock in the red and Carbery kicked the extras to secure the two points.

Musgrave Park hosts its first game of the season on Saturday as Munster take on Dragons in round three of the URC with a 5.15pm kick-off. Buy tickets here.

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