On top of that, Paul O Connell continued his recovery with a Man of the Match performance, one that also included a try while Alan Quinlan also produced a sparkling display. In fact Quinlan might just have easily taken the man of the match accolade. He had a hand with Anthony Foley in Horgan s try and then produced a piece of sevens rugby to set up the try for Ronan O Gara.
Coach Alan Gaffney set no try targets before the game but during the course of the game he felt eight might be a fair return. In the end it was nine and the Munster pack were over the Viadana line on two further occasions only for referee Hugh Watkins to whistle them back for five metre scrums. It was a game that in many ways was always going to be difficult in that Munster needed to score tries and at the same time concede none. Up against a strong physical Italian pack they were asked to defend on their own line on several occasions and they might have been forgiven, particularly in the second half with the result beyond doubt, if they had allowed the visitors a consolation score.
However they defended as if they only had a one point advantage something they do very well and when their line seemed certain to fall, Peter Stringer raced back to finger-trip and save a seven pointer. It was a tackle reminiscent of the one he pulled off against England last year and it was just one outstanding facet of an outstanding performance by the little pocket rocket.
Just as pleasing as the final result for Gaffney, Brian Hickey and manager Jerry Holland was the performance of the bench when they were called into action and Colm McMahon was desperately unlucky not to score a try after he had come on late in the game.
Munster's next task is to give a reprise in Italy on Saturday and they will surely take note of the result from Calvisano where the home side came from being 22-5 down to come back and beat Neath 39-29. For the trip to Itally Munster expect to have Dominic Crotty and John Kelly back in contention for selection and with reports that David Wallace is flying in training the Munster graph seems to have taken an upward curve.