Munster get back on track with rout of Zebre

Simon Zebo grabs two tries as Anthony Foley’s side continue dominance over Italian side

Munster’s Simon Zebo runs in for a try during the Guinness Pro 12 game against Zebre at  Thomond Park. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

Munster’s Simon Zebo runs in for a try during the Guinness Pro 12 game against Zebre at Thomond Park. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

Munster 47 Zebre 0

Munster got their Pro 12 campaign back on track at Thomond Park with an expected victory over Zebre, which maintained their dominance over the Italians in the league.

It was Munster’s eighth win in as many meetings against Zebre and the result was never in doubt, with Anthony Foley’s men in control throughout.

The win also surpasses their biggest ever victory in the league – a 50-6 rout over Dragons in 2008.

The victory will send them into next Saturday’s clash with Leinster at the Aviva Stadium with confidence.

Munster, fielding a starting 15 all of whom were developed in the province, were on top in the opening half against the wind and 14-0 up at half-time.

The Italians were forced to foul to keep Munster at bay and conceded a dozen penalties and had two men binned in that opening half.

Lock Quintin Geldenhuys was the first to go for killing the ball after 24 minutes and winger Giulio Toniolatti followed him seven minutes later for reckless use of the boot on Tommy O’Donnell.

Munster’s opening try after 12 minutes came from a penalty try following a good drive after a lineout take from Donnacha Ryan.

Johnny Holland, impressive at outhalf in only his second start for Munster, tapped over the conversion.

Holland, who battled back from a serious hamstring injury, was full of running and he also converted Munster’s second try with a superb kick from the left touchline.

The try came when Munster went wide from a scrum in front of the posts and Ronan O’Mahony finished off the move in style after quick ball through the hands of Tomás O’Leary, Johnny Holland and Rory Scannell.

Munster continued to dominate after the restart and it was no surprise when they wrapped up the bonus point before the end of the third quarter.

Simon Zebo got the two tries to net all five points, both of them coming of moves from deep.

He got the first after 48 minutes when he finished in style, going round Zebre fullback Kayle Van Zyl out wide after a good move by O’Leary, Scannell and Darren Sweetnam. Conor Murray took over the kicking duties after Keatley, on the field as temporary replacement while Johnny Holland underwent a head injury assessment, and he converted to make it 21-0.

Zebo’s second came after Zebre’s best spell but Munster turned over the ball in front of their own posts, with Sweetnam making the initial break from deep and Scannell and Keatley were also involved before Zebo came up the middle to race through and score.

Munster did not relent and when O’Donnell’s surging run through the middle was brought to a halt, CJ Stander was on his shoulder to score on his first game back since making his Six Nations debut.

Murray missed the conversion but he scored his side’s sixth try 15 minutes from the end when he spotted a gap off a ruck in the right corner to squirm over.

Holland, back on the field after a head injury assessment, slotted the conversion from the right with his accurate left boot to make it 40-0.

Zebre finished with 14 men when replacement hooker Bruno Postglioni was binned eight minutes from time for killing the ball as the home side drove once more towards the line.

They conceded a second penalty try as Munster turned the screw right to the finish, with Holland landing his fifth conversion of the night to crown a fine display which has Foley’s men back on track for Champions Cup qualification and a semi-final berth in the league.

MUNSTER: S Zebo; D Sweetnam, K Earls, R Scannell, R O’Mahony; J Holland, T O’Leary; D Kilcoyne, N Scannell, S Archer; D Ryan, B Holland; D O’Callaghan, T O’Donnell, J O’Donoghue.

Replacements: CJ Stander for O’Callaghan (49 mins) C Murray for O’Leary (49 mins), I Keatley for Holland (52 mins), J Cronin for Kilcoyne (56 mins), M Sherry for N Scannell (56 mins), M Sagario for Archer (59 mins), D Johnston for Earls (59 mins), J Holland for Keatley (59 mins), I Keatley for Zebo (67 mins), D Foley for Ryan (67 mins).

ZEBRE: K van Zyl; L Sarto, G Bisegni, T Boni, G Toniolatti; K Haimona, G Palazzani; G Roan, O Fabiani, D Chistolini; Q Geldenhuys, V Bernabò; J Cook, F Ruzza, J Meyer.

Replacements: G Koegelenberg for Bernabò (half-time), U Beyers for Bisegni (half-time), M Pratichetti for Toniolatti (half-time), P Ceccarelli for Chistolini (49 mins), L Burgess for Haimona (58 mins), B Postiglioni for Roan (60 mins), A de Marchi for van Zyl (73 mins), E Caffini for Cook (73 mins).

Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland).

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