Treviso Lie In Wait
27th April 2017 By The Editor
In the words of Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus, Munster fly to Treviso this weekend with destiny ‘in our own hands’. In essence, just one point from Saturday’s game should see the men in red secure a home semi final for the first time in two years.
While no doubt targeting nothing less than two wins (away to Treviso and home to Connacht) as they look to topple Leinster from the top of the PRO12 table and enter the play-offs as top seeds, one solitary league point from the final two rounds would put Munster on 77 points, and while Scarlets (home to Ospreys and away to Connacht) have the potential to match Munster in terms of league points and games won, it’s the difference between points for and points against that would most likely work against the Welshmen – Munster currently on 230, Scarlets on 133.
Should Munster win, or at the very minimum pick up two bonus points, at the Stadio Monigo, home advantage will be theirs come May 20.
However, Munster travel to face a side rich in form and brimming with confidence. As a South African native, Erasmus is only too aware that Treviso players were the backbone of the Italian side that defeated the Springboks in November, while Treviso’s last two encounters at the Stadio Monigo has seen them overturn Edinburgh and the much fancied Ospreys.
Saturday will see the Italian outfit chase three successive wins for the first time since 2013 – incidentally the same year that Treviso last beat the men in red.
And while Treviso and the remaining PRO12 outfits will have had two weeks to rest, recuperate and target the final rounds of the regular season, Munster – like Leinster – will need to manage some of their household names following bruising Champions Cup semi finals. Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, Peter O’Mahony, Andrew Conway and Tommy O’Donnell have not taken part in training this week as they all follow a workload management programme, a rib injury rules Jean Deysel out, while Rory Scannell and Conor Murray remain doubts due to respective concussion and shoulder complaints.
However, one thing Munster have not been short of this season is strength in depth and while the European 23 endured a tough day at the office on Saturday, the night previous, the next generation of provincial talent staged the most magnificent of comebacks to claim the British and Irish Cup title in Cork. It would be with much confidence, then, that Erasmus may dig deep into Munster’s rich reserves this weekend.
Winger Ronan O’Mahony, who will head to Treviso as the Championship’s top try scorer so far this season (9), met with media this week to preview the game.
“Going into this weekend we can’t have any hangover from Saracens and need to hit the ground running. We need to keep the mood good and high and we’ll do that as best we can. There’s still a lot to play for and thankfully we have ourselves in a really strong position to go after the PRO12.
“The reality is we’ve gone to Treviso a few times and lost, and they’ve taken two scalps in their last two home games. They won’t be any pushover, especially with the physicality of their pack, and any thoughts that we can run from our 22 would be foolish. Instead we need to stick to our game plan, be patient and do what we do best.
“There are only two rounds left, so for some players this will be their last chance to impress to get into the semi-final team.”
MunsterRugby.ie chatted exclusively to Jack O’Donoghue ahead of this weekend’s game…
Treviso v Munster, Guinness PRO12 round 21, Saturday April 29 at the Stadio Monigo, ko 6.05pm (Irish).