Gerbrandt Grobler makes debut as Munster put Zebre to the sword

South African secondrow receives warm ovation from home supporters at Thomond Park

Gerbrandt Grobler made his competitive Munster debut in the Guinness Pro 14 game against Zebre at Thomond Park. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Gerbrandt Grobler made his competitive Munster debut in the Guinness Pro 14 game against Zebre at Thomond Park. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Munster 33 Zebre 5

Gerbrandt Grobler, who served a two-year ban for taking performance enhancing drugs, made his competitive debut for Munster as they chalked up a bonus-point win over Italian side Zebre at Thomond Park on Saturday night.

The 26-year-old was given a big ovation by the home support when he was introduced just before the hour, replacing fellow South African Jean Kleyn.

By then Munster had just secured the bonus point against a gutsy Zebre side who just ran out of steam, with Sammy Arnold running in two tries to secure the win.

Munster led 12-0 at the break after wearing down a stubborn Zebre side.

Duncan Williams crowned his 150th appearance by helping to set up Arnold for the opening try after 26 minutes.

Brian Scott scores his first try for Munster during the Guinness Pro 14 match against Zebre at Thomond Park. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Brian Scott scores his first try for Munster during the Guinness Pro 14 match against Zebre at Thomond Park. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Prop Brian Scott got his first Munster try in 18 appearances just before the break.

Zebre enjoyed the better of the exchanges after the restart and deservedly pulled a try back when scrumhalf Guglielmo Palazzani finished off a 13-phase drive with a try which his halfback partner Serafin Bordoli failed to convert after 54 minutes.

But that score ignited Munster rather than the Italians and they struck inside two minutes when Robin Copeland marked a memorable display with a try after Conor Oliver was stopped just short after 11 phases.

Ian Keatley converted and then created the bonus-point try for his fellow replacement Rory Scannell after Zebre had lost a lineout inside their own half. Keatley’s conversion made it 26-5.

Munster pushed on from there and Rory Scannell turned provider for their fifth try six minutes from the end when he broke to set up Arnold for his second score of the night when he raced through to score.

MUNSTER: S Zebo; D Sweetnam, S Arnold, D Goggin, A Wootton; JJ Hanrahan, D Williams; J Cronin, N Scannell, B Scott; J Kleyn, B Holland (capt); J O’Donoghue, C Oliver, R Copeland.

Replacements: R Scannell for Goggin (52 mins), I Keatley for Hanrahan (52 mins), J Ryan for Scott (54 mins), K O’Byrne for N Scannell (59 mins), G Grobler for Klyen (59), D O’Callaghan for O’Donoghue (59 mins), J Poland for Williams (59 mins), J Loughman for Cronin (69 mins).

ZEBRE: C Gaffney; G Di Giulio, G Bisegni, F Afamasaga, G Venditti; S Bordoli, G Palazzani; C Ah-Nau, T D’Apice, E Bello; D Sisi, G Biagi (capt); R Giammarioli, J Meyer, J Tuivaiti.

Replacements: D Minnie for Tuivati (57 mins), R Raffaele for Palazzani (57 mins), L Luus for d’Apice (57 mins), R Tenga for Bello (57 mins), A de Marchi for Ah-Nau (61 mins), L Krumow for Biagi (61 mins), R Parata for Venditti (61 mins), M Azzolini for Bordoli (75 mins).

Referee : Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

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