Munster respond to South Africa setback with six try victory over Benetton in Musgrave

Six-try Munster made a winning return to Musgrave Park in the URC on Friday night with a bonus-point win over Benetton in front of the vocal home support

It was brilliant victory for the men in red after two difficult games in South Africa as they saw off Benneton with a 51-22 win.

Matt Gallagher, Craig Casey, Simon Zebo, Gavin Coombes and Jack O’Sullivan all touched down for Munster with Ben Healy 100% off the tee.

The hosts held a narrow 17-10 lead at the interval but came out strongly at the start of the second half to wrap up the bonus point by the 65th minute.

Benetton played with great intent throughout with their scrum, in particular, causing Munster trouble but Johann van Graan’s men proved too strong over the 80 minutes and pulled away in the final quarter.

Coombes led the charge for Munster from the off with a Ben Healy penalty following a Benetton offside providing the first three points. Craig Casey nearly set up a try as Munster played the advantage but his kick was just out of reach for Shane Daly as he looked to pounce on the right wing.

Benetton came to play and were keen to take a quick lineout at every opportunity when Munster cleared. Fortunately the hosts had all the answers in defence with a rip from Stephen Archer winning back possession. Zebo was then impeded as he chased Casey’s clearance, allowing Healy to clear into the Benetton 22.

The first try soon followed as Gallagher raced through on 18 minutes after a clever inside pass from Jack O’Donoghue off a training ground move.

John Hodnett was pinged for not rolling away on 22 minutes which gave Rhyno Smith the chance to make it 10-3.

The second try arrived on 34 minutes as Zebo won possession for Munster off a Casey box kick and Hodnett raced clear before passing outside for Zebo, whose inside pass found Casey to score.

A botched Munster lineout was pounced on by Benetton before the interval with Ratuva Tavuyara’s brilliant crossfield chip grounded well by Smith. The winger converted his own try and the Munster lead was down to 17-10 at the break.

Coombes came up with an important breakdown penalty after the break and Healy’s penalty made it 20-10.

Zebo was in for Munster’s third try on 45 minutes after beating his man on the outside to score in the left corner following a big Coombes carry. Healy landed the conversion superbly to make it 27-10.

Benetton fought back well and went to the corner after winning a scrum penalty with Giacomo Da Re gliding through to score in the right corner. Smith was unable to convert but Benetton were still in it at 27-15.

Munster responded immediately with a Healy penalty to make it 30-15 to steady the ship.

Coombes clinched the bonus point on 65 minutes after replacement Jason Jenkins caught an overthrown Benetton lineout five metres out with Coombes eventually crossing from close range. Healy slotted the conversion to make it 37-15.

Replacement Jack O’Sullivan scored the fifth try after an unstoppable Munster maul with Healy’s conversion moving the score to 44-15.

A Jenkins breakdown steal then won back possession deep in the Benetton half with de Allende dancing down the right touchline to score after a strong fend. Healy, kicked his sixth conversion to round off the Munster scoring with Benetton showing great fight to score the final try through Callum Braley.

Munster have Leinster up next in what will be Munster’s most important game in the URC this season.

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