Munster 31 Benetton 17
A youthful-looking Munster saw off Benetton on Friday night at Thomond Park to sign-off on their Pro14 campaign on a high with a bonus-point victory.
Clonakilty’s Cian Hurley made his debut in the second row, while Diarmuid Barron, Jake Flannery and Paddy Paterson were all handed their first starts for the province.
Benetton scored a wonderful try in the 23rd minute after a heel against the head at scrum time. Italian international out-half Tommaso Allan instigated the move as he moved the ball to the Benetton right wing.
There did not appear to be much room to manoeuvre but three wonderful offloads from winger Angelo Esposito, centre Joaquin Riera and number eight Nicola Quaglio allowed scrum half Dewaldt Duvenage to finish what was a wonderful team try.
JJ Hanrahan responded with a penalty in the 27th minute, after Benetton had committed a high tackle in midfield.
And in the 40th minute Munster scored a fabulous try of their own when Rory Scannell received a bullet of a pass from replacement scrum-half Nick McCarthy, before freeing his hands up in the tackle to release the supporting Alex McHenry.
There was another first Munster try in the 46th minute when tight head Keynan Knox crashed over from close range after a big carry, and not to be outdone, Knox’s replacement Roman Salanoa scored a similar try almost immediately after entering the fray in the 58th minute, in what was also a first try for the club.
Benetton plugged away and scored a good pack try from a maul, with Corniel Els crashing over in the 71st minute.
Munster then secured the bonus point with a superb try from Ben Healy in the 73rd minute. The replacement No. 10 sent a looping pass to winger Liam Coombes who raced up the left wing, and when he looked inside for a pass it was the supporting Healy who collected to score.
Number eight Giovanni Pettinelli ended the game with a sensational score for Benetton, which unfortunately for them was too little, too late.
Hanrahan (1 pen, 3 cons), Healy (1 con, 1 try), McHenry, Knox and Salanoa (1 try each).
Allan (1 con), Duvenage, Els and Pettinelli (1 try each).
Flannery; Conway, McHenry, Scannell, Coombes; Hanrahan, Patterson; O’Connor, Barron, Knox; Hurley, Ahern; O’Donoghue (c), Cloete, O’Sullivan.
McCarthy for Patterson (37), Gallagher for Flannery (50), Marshall, Loughman and Salanoa for Barron, O’Connor and Knox (57), Healy for Hanrahan (58), Daly for Cloete (66), O’Donnell for O’Donoghue (68).
Hayward; Tavuyara, Riera, Morisi, Esposito; Allan, Duvenage (Capt); Quaglio, Baravalle, Alongi, Herbst; Snyman, Sgarbi; Zuliani, Pettinelli.
Gallo for Quaglio (40), Els and Pasquali for Baravalle and Alongi (50), Sarto for Tavuyara (55), Piantella, Petrozzi and Benvenuti for Herbst, Duvenage and Morisi (58), Barbini for Zuliani (71).
Hollie Davidson (Scotland).