Johann van Graan looks on as Munster maintain winning run against Zebre

Johann van Graan looks on as Munster maintain winning run against Zebre

Zebre 19 Munster 29

Munster maintained their 100% record in 11 league games with victory against Zebre today, writes John Fallon.

Assistant coaches Jerry Flannery and Felix Jones took charge as new boss Johann van Graan just had a watching brief, but the South African’s era in Munster got off to a winning start nevertheless.

The only blip coming when they were temporarily down to 13 men before the break.

Munster looked to be coasting to victory against a second string Zebre side when they opened up a 17-0 lead after just 26 minutes.

Rory Scannell got in for the opening try after early dominance finally yielded a touchdown after 18 minutes, with JJ Hanrahan’s conversion making it 10-0 having earlier landed one of three penalties.

Scrum-half James Hart crowned his first start with try after temporary replacement Brian Scott snatched a lineout.

But then it unravelled for Munster when first Robin Copeland was binned and Zebre struck for their opening try when centre Giulio Bisegni scored after former Connacht full-back Ciaran Gaffney was stopped short.

And then when the impressive Sam Arnold was yellow-carded, Zebre used the space to go wide and send captain Jacopo Sarto over in the left corner for a try which was again converted by scrum-half Guglielmo Palazzani to leave it 17-14 to Munster at the break.

Munster took control again once they got back to 15 players and Alex Wootton wrapped up the game and a bonus point with two tries in a four-minute spell.

He got the first after 53 minutes in the right corner and then a superb long pass from Simon Zebo sent him over in the left corner for the clinching score.

Winger Gio Venditti pulled back a try for an understrength Zebre side but they couldn’t salvage a bonus point.

Indeed, it was Munster who finished on a high when Calvin Nash got over for their fifth try in the dying seconds.

Scorers:

Zebre: Tries: G Bisegni, J Sarto, G Venditti. Cons : G Palazzani (2)

Munster: Tries: A Wootton (2), R Scannell, J Hart, C Nash. Cons : JJ Hanrahan (4). Pen : Hanrahan.

Zebre: C Gaffney; P Bruno, G Bisegni, F Afamasaga, G D’Onofrio; M Azzolini, G Palazzani; C Ah-Nau, L Luus, E Bello; J Tucker, L Krumov; J Sarto, J Meyer, D Minnie.

Replacements: O Fabiani for Luus (41), M Mbanda for Minnie (43),

Munster: S Zebo; D Sweetnam, S Arnold, R Scannell, A Wootton; JJ Hanrahan, J Hart; L O’Connor, R Marshall, S Archer; J Kleyn, B Holland; J O’Donoghue, C Cloete, R Copeland.

Replacements: B Scott for Archer (21-27), K O’Byrne for Marshall (63), D O’Shea for Holland (63), C Nash for Wootton (67), ), B Scott for O’Connor (67), J Stafford for Hart (76), B Johnston for Zebo (76),

Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland).


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