2023 Benetton Rugby vs Munster Rugby

All-Time Classic Comes To A Close In Treviso As Munster Defeat Benetton

All-Time Classic Comes To A Close In Treviso As Munster Defeat Benetton

Munster Rugby defeat Italian rivals Benetton Rugby 40 - 30 to move into 6th position on the United Rugby Championship table January 28th 2023.

Jan 28, 2023 by Philip Bendon
All-Time Classic Comes To A Close In Treviso As Munster Defeat Benetton

It was tries galore in northern Italy as Munster Rugby continued their fine run of form with an impressive 40 – 30 bonus point win over Benetton. 

The win sees Graham Rowntree’s side leapfrog Benetton into sixth position on the table as they close the gap on the fourth-place Vodacom Bulls who lost on Friday evening. 

Rowntree’s side didn’t have it all their own way, falling into an early 12 – 0 deficit before mounting an impressive comeback to trail by just a single point at half-time 15 – 14. 

Munster would score first in the second half as backrow John Hodnett busted through a number of tackles down the left flank in a score that further highlighted his powerful ball carrying ability. 

Flyhalf Joey Carbery added the extra two points to take Munster out to a 21 – 15 lead.

Despite being relatively comfortable, Munster conceded a number of penalties that will frustrate their coaching staff. 

First up was replacement flyhalf Ben Healy who was shown a yellow card for the second week in a row. This time he was caught in an awkward position conceding a deliberate knock-on. 

Despite his absence, Munster would go on to score their fourth try to secure a bonus point and take a two-score lead 28 – 18 keeping their hosts at arms length. 

Benetton would close the gap with a try of their own to bring the deficit back to within five points 28 – 23. 

Healy would enter the fray only to see Diarmuid Barron sent to the bin keeping Munster a man down for a full twenty minutes. 

Scottish Six Nations call-up Healy would make amends for his previous indiscretions as he put in a pinpoint cross-field kick for centre Antoine Frisch to go over in the corner. 

Carbery would score Munster’s final try as they brought up forty points in a mightily impressive attacking display. 

Benetton would have the last laugh however as sensational winger Ignacio Mendy crossed for his third try of the afternoon to second a bonus point for his side. 

Both sides brought with them sublime attacking shapes that proved why they have been two of the hottest teams in the league over the past ten weeks.

Munster employed a wide attacking game as they identified weaknesses in the Benetton defensive edges. This tactic yielded plenty of joy in particular for their first try courtesy of a joint chip and chase effort from Calvin Nash and Paddy Patterson. 

Benetton on the other hand attacked Munster through the middle as they employed deep-strike runners with plenty of deception and tight offloads. Leading the charge was English flyhalf Jacob Umaga who made a number of incisive breaks. 

Umaga who joined from stricken English Premiership club Wasps showed glimpses of the brilliance that defined both his father Mike and Uncle Tana’s careers. 

At 24-years-old Umaga who last played for England in 2021 could be a prime candidate to represent his father’s home country Samoa in the not-too-distant future should he not work his way back into the England set-up beforehand. 

Elsewhere Mendy’s hattrick of tries will give the Argentinean selectors plenty to think about in a World Cup year. Los Pumas have been blessed with slick outside backs over the years and the 7s specialist looks to be a special prospect who at 22 years old will only continue to get better. 

One thing this clash firmly concluded is that both of these sides are quickly establishing themselves as genuine title contenders and will be a tough challenge for any team in the playoffs.

Written by Philip Bendon